22 Sep 18

Brazil automakers: ROTA 2030 EV incentives weak

Automakers need to build very light weight full-electric vehicles (EV) to fully benefit from Brazil’s recently defined ROTA 2030 automotive industry policy, according to OEM executives who spoke during electric vehicle event "VE Latino Americano 2018" which took place in the city of Sao Paulo from September 17-19.

The automotive industry policy, which maps out rules to stimulate sector investment over the next 15 years, requires automakers to improve energy efficiency by 11% by 2022. Moreover, it has reduced the rate on the IPI industrialized goods tax for full-electric and hybrid vehicles.

Previously set at 25%, new legislation drops the rate down to 7-20%, with full-electric cars and lighter vehicles benefiting more.

“Unfortunately, the new Rota 2030 incentive policy is still weak,” said Dalicio Guiguer who is chief engineer and general director for global product programs for GM South America (GMSA). 

GMSA general director for global product programs Dalicio Guiguer (Source: Global Fleet, Daniel Bland)

Next year, Chevrolet is seeking to launch its Bolt in Brazil, a 200hp full-electric hatchback with a range of 382km. While its energy efficient powertrain would qualify it for a discount from the original 25% rate, the car’s weight of 1,616kg is too heavy to qualify for the lower rate of 7%. It’s battery alone is nearly 500 kilos.

“The tax break is not that great as it really only benefits full-electric vehicles which are extremely light [1,400 kilos or less for best discount],” said Adalberto Maluf who is director of marketing, sustainability, and new business for BYD, the Chinese vehicle manufacturer now building more EVs than Tesla. 

“The growth of EVs really depends on government will. We need stronger support from city halls and agencies such as environment regulator Ibama,” said Maluf.

BYD marketing, sustainability, and new business director Adalberto Maluf (Source: Global Fleet, Daniel Bland) 

Besides an electric bus, BYD was featuring its 217hp e5 sedan (pictured top) and its 102 hp e6 crossover hatch, both with ranges of some 400km. Despite being able to travel quite far on a single charge, both weigh more than 2,200 kilos apiece.

“The new policy stimulates research and development, pushes better energy efficiency, and does give tax discounts. However, it is still not that great,” said Toyota director of government affairs Ricardo Bastos, highlighting that Toyota feels that it is developing the most sustainable car models in the market. 

Besides the Prius hybrid flex plug-in which runs on electricity, gasoline, and ethanol, Toyota is testing the idea of running its hydrogen vehicles on ethanol as well. More than half of Brazils cars run on sugar-cane based ethanol.

Bastos is also the VP of Brazil’s car manufacturer association Anfavea.

Among the other vehicles being featured at the event were: Toyota Prius hybrid (non-flex), Lexus NX300 hybrid crossover, Lexus N200 hybrid hatch, Volvo XC-60 T8 hybrid SUV, Volvo XC-90 T8 hybrid SUV, and BMW i3 full-electric hatch.

With a curb weight of some 1,200 kilos, the BMW i3 is the only full-electric mass produced passenger vehicle in Brazil falling under the lowest weight category. It, however, only has a range of 183km (August, 2018) with much owing to its smaller and lighter weight battery. 

2019 BMW i3 (Source: BMW)


Authored by: Daniel Bland