LatAm Mobility Summit 2018 takeaways
During last week’s first ever LatAm Mobility Summit which brought together urban mobility experts and entrepreneurs, a number of key statements were made by speakers and these are the ones worth noting.
First of all, DHL Logistics’ innovations and solutions VP Nabil Malouli announced the start of testing for a 12-unit electric vehicle fleet in Mexico. They are produced by the company in Germany under the name of StreetScooter. "Once we achieve good results, we'll expand it to our total network," Malouli said.
However, according to Justin Dawe who is the president of electric scooter producer Scoot, the biggest transformation taking place in Latin America right now is not the move from gasoline to electricity as some may think.
Due to the lack of space and congestion in many large cities, the biggest trend right now “is going from private-use to shared-use vehicles,” the executive said, highlighting that it is quite difficult to control how commuters use gasoline.
“While other areas of the world such as Europe and the United States seem to be more worried about clean energy, much of the focus in Latin America involves cutting down on traffic congestion, mobility expert Jose Luís Criado told Global Fleet in an interview.
By 2020, some 90mn additional people are expected to move into Latin American capital cities so the need to control congestion will continue for years to come.
Meanwhile, another important factor pointed out by International Automobile Federation (FIA) VP José Abed during the event was the need to improve the standards of mobility overall, and this includes decreasing the number of road accidents.
According to some of the latest traffic accident studies, Latin America faces approximately 6mn injuries and 130,000 deaths per year on roads, equivalent to 19.2 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants or three times that of European countries.
One company aimed at helping to improve safety as well as reduce traffic congestion is Google-owned navigation app Waze which is much more than a geolocation platform today.
Besides sharing information in real time about traffic jams and problems such as accidents and potholes, the launch of the company’s car-pooling service – already operating in California – was announced at the event.
In the future, “there is a possibility of ending traffic completely,” Waze Mexico manager Anasofia Sánchez said, adding however that there are obviously challenges to overcome in terms of security and the overall culture and mentality of people.
Another company attending the event was multinational ride-hailing company Uber which has been increasing its coverage throughout the region.
New Business Model panel discussion (Source: LatAm Mobility 2018)
"Uber has a penetration of 4% now, with higher coverage in countries such as Chile and Costa Rica. We are just beginning, but the potential of transport platforms throughout the world is enormous," said Mexico Operations Director Roberto Fernández del Castillo.
The company went from five Latin American countries in 2015 to 15 in 2018. It operates in 160 cities throughout the region with 1mn active drivers and 25mn daily users.
Among the other participants at the event were executives from Cabify, Easy Taxi, Voom, Element Fleet Management, and the BMW group, in addition to representatives from the national institute of ecology and climate change (INECC), The United Nations environment program (UN-Environment), and the World Bank.