8 Jan 19

Electric Vehicle trend gaining steam in Latin America

Despite the initial cost of electric vehicles (EV) still being quite expensive for some countries, some of the factors increasing the global EV fleet are falling battery costs, increasing vehicle ranges, and other issues such as tax incentives, tighter fuel-economy standards, and new initiatives in electric mobility.
While China, Western Europe, and California are among the places leading the world's transformation to EVs, cities in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico are among those leading the way in Latin America.
With the vast majority of Latin America's citizens residing in urban areas and private vehicle ownership growing at the fastest pace in the world (estimated to triple by 2050), air pollution does not seem like it will go away soon. As such, Latin America has a strong incentive to promote electric mobility.
Several factors, however, are still hindering the progress of these vehicles in the region and among them are the cost of cars, subsidized fossil fuels, the presence of ethanol (primarily Brazil), a lack of vehicle fuel efficiency standards, and insufficient charging infrastructure. In Brazil for example where the average annual salary is approximately $35,000 reais (US$9,400), the price of the Nissan Leaf is R$179,000.

2019 Nissan Leaf, world's best-selling EV model (Source: Nissan)
Some governments are combating high prices with various strategic incentives. In 2017, the Colombian government eliminated import tariffs on up to 1,500 EVs per year through 2019 and by 2023, the annual quota will increase to 3,000.
As for Brazil, it has just ratified its ROTA 2030 multi-year automotive policy which, among other things, calls for automakers to improve the fuel efficiency in their fleets by 11% within five years (2023).
Meanwhile, Mexico has a growing EV recharging station network thanks to the support of EV manufacturer Tesla, not to mention a booming electric scooter and bicycle market in Mexico City.
Finally, we cannot go without talking about Chile which offers electric vehicles exemptions from environmental tax to traffic restrictions, as well as subsidies and quick and simple licensing procedures for taxi drivers who switch to more energy efficient vehicles.  The country also has an ambitious plan to tackle its smog problem in Santiago which includes the launch of electric scooters, cars and taxis, as well as mining industry vehicles. 
According to energy minister Susana Jiménez, the government aims to increase the number of its electric vehicles tenfold by 2022, all of which brings Chile to the forefront of clean mobility in Latin America as well as among developing countries worldwide.

Stay tuned for the new models to be seen in dealer showrooms throughout Chile, as well as the rest of the region. Latin America came off to a slow start compared to some other regions of the world, but the gears are shifting. .
Authored by: Daniel Bland