A National Standard for Science and TechThu, 09/01/2016 - 22:27
Q: What is the government doing to promote the local supply chain, especially with all the new investments coming to the country?
A: The results of an automotive competitiveness study in Aguascalientes performed by the state’s Ministry of Economic Development in collaboration with the Center for Mathematical Research (CIMAT), helped us create the SME Automotive Impulse Fund. This program is focused on helping local SMEs enter the supply chain and increases their competitiveness through an integration program, including machinery and technology acquisition, training and management systems development. In its first year we distributed over MX$124 million (US$6.7 million) to 55 local automotive SMEs. The Aguascalientes government’s contribution was over MX$48 million (US$2.6 million).
Q: Once all the new OEMs begin operations, what will be the impact on the state?
A: The state will have an important role, having brought in the sector’s largest and most important investment projects in recent years. Nissan and COMPAS plan to produce a joint 1 million units per year in Aguascalientes by 2021, representing 20 percent of the projected total production in Mexico. OEMs outside Aguascalientes will have the benefit of a stronger supply chain as local providers get the opportunity to join the supplier network. It is important to have successful local companies with attractive costs, efficiency, quality and productivity that enable them to grow and supply at a national level. Given that Aguascalientes stands out internationally for its safety and inviting business environment, we are receiving numerous visits from suppliers on all five continents that work with more than one OEM.
Q: What is the state’s strategy for industrial development, particularly in R&D and hard engineering?
A: We are promoting the establishment of engineering, research and development centers among companies and have had very good results. Some companies are already successfully operating such centers, including Calsonic-Kansei Mexicana, Tachi-S Latinoamerica and Donaldson. Aguascalientes has become a national standard for science and technology with six research centers linked to CONACYT. All operate to international quality standards, fostering advanced technology development and knowledge transfer in diverse areas ranging from information technology to optics and geo- referencing. We are developing a PhD network to link these professionals to local companies and OEMs in the automotive and aerospace industries.
Q: How successful has the electric taxi program been and what development plans do you have?
A: This administration has developed each initiative as a green project, be it in infrastructure, education, health or transport. We are constantly working to decrease energy consumption and implement programs that promote clean energy generation.
The Zero Emissions Green Transport Program started with 50 units operating in the city of Aguascalientes and in 2016 another 15 units were added, including battery charging infrastructure. Besides the 50 level 2 stations, the level 3 and 4 rapid recharge stations and the public chargers in strategic points of the city, another 15 simple wall chargers were installed. This entire network generates 400 MWh per year supplying at least 70 percent of the electric energy needed to charge the 65 electric taxis. Over 9 million kilometers have been traveled with these vehicles, avoiding the emission of over 2,850 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. This initiative has helped us spread awareness on electric mobility to over 250,000 people.
The greatest challenge for Aguascalientes and Mexico in general is to achieve sustainable mobility. We know the use of electric automobiles is in our future but it is a process that will take time as renewable energy infrastructure must be developed. We know these projects though long and costly at first are key to facilitating the adoption of electric automobiles for domestic and daily use.