Electric Vehicles Trail Behind in MexicoBy Cas Biekmann | Mon, 08/16/2021 - 17:36
A report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) shows that electric mobility is growing in Latin America and the Caribbean. Even though there are many actors involved in pushing electric vehicles (EVs) to the forefront in other countries, Mexico is still lagging: it is the last out of sixteen countries in regards to public institution support for EVs.
For Mexico, the actors involved come from three areas: the environment, cooperation through international agencies and private companies. In fact, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay and the Caribbean Commnity all rank above Mexico. In these countries, potential drivers such as the public treasury, the energy ministry, urban planning actors and the governing administration were involved, among others. Uruguay leads the pack, with a whopping eleven sectors involved in promoting electromobility.
Although this shows a lack of promotion, Mexico is not entirely without development on the front of e-mobility. The government is planning regulation to expand the possibility to convert vehicles to become electric. Mexico City’s government furthermore introduced a fleet of electric buses that run on a lithium-ion battery for public transport in 2020. For the time being, these buses are in a pilot phase, whereas they are already fully operational in countries such as Chile and Colombia. Nevertheless, Mexico City’s plans are advancing rapidly: the local government aims to purchase an additional 500 electric bus units by 2024, in addition to the 193 it already purchased in 2020, spending US$85 million in the process. State-owned utility CFE promotes the installation of domestic charging stations in order to see which energy is used at home and what is used to charge the vehicle, so that the energy user’s base rate is not adversely affected.
Mexico’s EV potential is a crucial element for the country’s climate goals, objectives that SENER has already admitted it is falling behind on, although it expects the country to recover fully before 2030. As the UN points out, several drivers need to be successful if a country is to switch to e-mobility, although this is different for developed and developing markets. “There are two different markets for electrified vehicles. In developed markets, such as the EU or the US, electrification will advance rapidly. Fully electric vehicles are a reality for them, while vehicle autonomy continues to increase,” said José Román, President of Nissan Mexicana and NIBU. “In emerging markets, electrification will arrive in a different way. There are three key players in electrification: the customer, OEMs and the government, which is in charge of developing the necessary infrastructure for electrified vehicles. In emerging markets, we have the technology and there is a clear need for these kinds of vehicles but governments are not ready to massively invest in electrification – not because they do not want to but because they have other priorities,” he added.