Electric vehicle growth in Latin America
Electric vehicles (EVs) are a growing part of the Latin American car market. Most of this growth has been in the public sector, with leaders including public transit EVs in their plans to combat pollution. Private adoption of EVs has been comparatively slower according to market observers like CleanTechnica and consultant firm Arthur D Little. In response, LatAm governments have begun implementing their own plans to incentivize EV adoption among their citizens.
Santiago made headlines when the city imported 100 electric buses near the end of 2018. This first-stage rollout was part of Chile’s plan to combat the city’s smog through electrification. Chile’s larger National Electrification Strategy aims to electrify the country’s entire public transit infrastructure and 40% of private vehicles by 2050.
Other LatAm nations are making the shift to electric transit. Mexico City continues to expand its electric scooter and bike program. The city also plans to add up to 500 electric buses to its fleet in the coming years. It is aided by the Zero Emission Bus Rapid-deployment Acceleration (ZEBRA) program. ZEBRA organizes partnerships between manufacturers and city governments to arrange financing, policies and pilot projects needed to support electric bus deployment. ZEBRA is currently active in Mexico City, São Paulo, Brazil, and Medellín, Colombia.
The brisk pace of LatAm’s public EV adoption is contrasted by the slow growth of private EV ownership. One of the main roadblocks to private EV purchases is price. Brazil, for example, has an average annual income of about R35,000, well below the R179,000 price of a Nissan Leaf. Recognizing this, Brazil, Colombia and Argentina have lowered import taxes on EVs while Ecuador, Uruguay and Costa Rica have eliminated them outright. Electricity importers, such as Chile and Mexico, have reduced tariffs on electricity used for EV charging.
To help understand the impact EVs can have on your fleet, Geotab, the world’s leading connected vehicle company for smart city and fleets, offers an EV Suitability Assessment (EVSA) that creates plans for EV adoption. The EVSA looks at a fleet’s mileage, fuel costs, available charging infrastructure and environmental impact to identify which vehicles are the best candidates to replace with EVs. The MyGeotab platform also offers tools fleet managers can use to help monitor performance, understand charging and using real-time state of charge data to dispatch the right vehicles. Latin America is familiar with green initiatives. The electrification of public transit is a logical policy shift for a region that already uses renewable sources for over half its energy production. Although private EV adoption has been comparatively slow, LatAm governments are already reducing financial barriers. Latin America’s EV sector is well on its way to catching up to, and even surpassing, other regions.
Authored by Juan Cardona, VP Sales LatAm, Geotab