New Normality in Mobility or the Enemy at Home?By Nazareth Black | Tue, 02/16/2021 - 09:22
Beautiful and beloved Mexico, with more than 32 million registered combustion motor vehicles in circulation, emitting millions of tons of pollutants every day that culminate in more than 15,000 new fatalities every year, should not aspire to return to such a damaging reality on our way to the new normality. We must aim for a new normality based on a greener, more sustainable reality.
COVID-19 is an enemy virus that has paralyzed the entire world. We voluntarily excluded ourselves through quarantine, without caring that in doing so the economy could collapse and send millions of companies to the business pantheon. According to figures from the Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC), an estimated 2.7 million small and medium-sized companies in Latin America are expected to fail, 500,000 of them in Mexico. Even from self-imposed confinement, we have sent a “see you soon” (which we hope is provisional) to our loved ones. All this in order to preserve one's life. Why then do we voluntarily make invisible the deaths caused by the pollution from the cars we use? Why do we turn a deaf ear to our direct responsibility for these deaths?
Wonderful quarantine! The rivers, the beaches, the animals taking to the streets, nature reclaiming its space. This makes it clear to us that the enemy is ourselves. The strong and clear message places us at a turning point: it is time to change, it is time to move, but in electric vehicles.
We owe it to ourselves and we deserve a better quality of life. We must take advantage of the momentum caused by the unfortunate circumstance of a health emergency and allow Mother Nature all the possible help for her recovery. The time has come to raise awareness and accelerate the adoption of electromobility.
That said, let's talk about possibilities, truths and realities in Mexico. While there are hundreds and hundreds of possibilities when choosing an internal combustion car, there are less than 15 electric options. This means that we must stop waiting for the electric car with the 3 Bs – bueno, bonito, barato (good, beautiful, cheap) – and adapt to reality by choosing from one of the few options available for the sake, of course, of our own survival.
It is also true that we cannot expect much from the big brands. In my personal opinion, they are simply delaying the arrival of electric vehicles. To support that statement, just remember that the loss of the after-sales business will be in the multimillion dollars. An example: VW, with more than US$70 billion in investment to develop two electric vehicles and now an alliance with Ford with the same objective. Yet, I still have not seen even one of the promised electric cars rolling. Why is that?
It will then be necessary to turn to Mexican talent focused on achieving national developments. It is here where I identify a great possibility, because Mexico is an important vehicle producer. The most tangible example is Zacua, the first Mexican electric car and a national project that seeks to project Mexico as a producer of positive technology and a driver of sustainable mobility.
Zacua's goal is ambitious: to offer zero-emission electric car options, projecting Mexico worldwide as a technology producer and demonstrating that Mexicans are capable of complete car developments.
In this step, Motores Limpios has made an important advance with its Zacua, considered the first Mexican electric car and which caused a stir worldwide. In the first year since its launch, it has received visits from important personalities in the business and governmental spheres, as well as more than 15 ambassadors interested in learning about the project and exploring the possibility of taking it to their countries. Another interesting achievement in process is the launch of a sister brand focused on utility electric vehicles developed by its engineering area dedicated to the development of custom electric vehicles for AAA companies and governments.
In an ambitious plan, it seeks accelerated growth by supplying these large companies and governments with the electric utility vehicles they require at the best possible cost. For this, there is a comprehensive formula that includes financial support for leasing these vehicles, thus achieving fully tax-deductible projects.
At the Latin American level, the outlook is quite encouraging. There are many companies and professionals in the field that are increasingly organized and sharing information and developing alliances that will result in an accelerated transition.
I must mention that when I refer to electric vehicles, I consider the entire spectrum, from public transport to those focused on micro-mobility.
The big challenge is to increase the existing options by developing new models of electric vehicles, implementing better government incentives and increasing investment in infrastructure for energy charging; of course, we need to make this energy clean and, above all, work to educate people to internalize the urgency of making this transition toward electromobility.
The way forward is not easy using another form of mobility. I usually say that the challenge of sustainable mobility is to row against the current. However, we have a great opportunity before us: to democratize and improve mobility through access to a variety of electric vehicles that are accessible to all needs.
It is only a matter of time before we can enjoy this panorama with our eyes and, above all, feel it in our lungs.
* The figures shown are those shared by INEGI and WHO