7 Aug 18

Electric Vehicles Circling in Central America

With the launch of the first electric vehicle on El Salvadorian roads in May, an important signal is given for the take-off of the Central American EV market, but how does this market look today? 

Several countries in the region are incentivising the sales of electric vehicles by tax incentives or exemptions from environmental traffic restrictions, or by other privileges. However, the actual EV offer in the region is limited to a few models. 

1.    Mexico

Mexico has the largest EV offer of Central America, and it is the only country in Latin America where Tesla extended its distribution network. Therefore, Tesla is represented in the country with its Model 3, Model S and model X. More economic EVs on the Mexican market are the Renault Twizy and the Nissan Leaf, the world’s best-selling EV. The Chevrolet Volt, and Bolt EV 2018, and BMW’s i3 close the list of full electrics.

On the hybrid market, there is the Nissan X-Trail Hybrid, the Volvo XC90, and the Toyota Prius C which is among the top sellers, however the Hyundai Ioniq might become its competitor. 

2.    Costa Rica

Costa Rica has set an ambitious target to get 37,000 PEVs on the road by 2022. However, according to movilidadelectrica.org, there are currently three fully electric models available on the market, being the BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, and Hyundai Ioniq. The new Nissan LEAF 2018 is to be launched soon, as is the Chevrolet Bolt. When it comes to hybrid EVs, Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid EV. The BMW X5 plug-in hybrid, Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and BYD’s Qin Plug-In Hybrid join the hybrid market. 

3.    Guatemala

Guatemala, incentivised by the countries pilot programme ‘Movilidad Electrica’ since 2015, has had the Renault Twizzy on offer since 2016. Further on, Luka Electric offers various EV models with Chinese car parts assembled in Guatemala, from the Luka Lighting (sedan), over the Luka QHM (a truck), and Ecco Tuk (a cargo tricycle with a 600-pound capacity). In the hybrid segment, there is the RAV4 (SUV) and the Toyota Prius (Sedan). 

4.    Panama

Panama has had hybrid cars on offer since 2009, with among others the BMW X5 40e, 530e, and 740e. The BMW i3 was the first fully electric car, and has been on the Panamian market since 2016. Further on, BYD’s F3, F5 and S6 are also available in the country.  

5.    El Salvador, Honduras and NIcaragua

Finally, El Salvador closes the list together with less developed markets Honduras (hybrids Toyota Prius and Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid), and Nicaragua (hybrid Toyota Prius). In May 2018 the first EV drove in the streets of El Salvador, as a part of a pilot project of  energy distributor DELSUR, in order to push electric mobility in the country.

Authored by: Fien Van den steen