Institute of the Americas, GM and GE Present Research Results on Electric Vehicles in Mexico

Institute of the Americas, GM and GE Present Research Results on Electric Vehicles in Mexico

MEXICO CITY  The Institute of the Americas presented research findings on the feasibility of electric vehicles in Mexico during an Oct. 30 conference in Mexico City.

The study titled “Electric Vehicles in Mexico: A Green and Viable Choice for Fleets,” focuses on economic, social and environmental impacts of the technology and the need for a comprehensive national policy that will allow Mexico to take a leading role in the global automobile manufacturing industry with the adoption of technological advances for electric vehicles.

The research, which was commissioned by General Motors, General Electric and CAF — the Development Bank of Latin America, highlights a series of actions taken by private companies, local governments and federal officials to promote the adoption of electric cars in Mexico. An example is the recently announced pilot program between General Motors and General Electric of Mexico, which involves the use of a test fleet of electric vehicles, Chevrolet Volt, by a group of officers and employees of GE Mexico.  This group will use the latest-generation charging stations, WattStation™, making energy consumption more efficient.

“We are ready to offer this technology and we definitely want to bring this vehicle, Chevrolet Volt, on a large scale to our country, but we have to be very responsible in this step to ensure that Mexico is at the forefront,” said Ernesto M. Hernández, President and CEO of General Motors of Mexico. “This pilot program and the study by the Institute of the Americas, are crucial to understanding the usage, infrastructure and economic factors that allow us to support the creation of an appropriate public policy, to provide in the medium term the adoption of these technologies in Mexico.”

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, right, receives the “Leadership in Environmental Protection” award from Institute of the Americas President Charles Shapiro. Photo by Notimex

During the conference, the Institute of the Americas presented Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard with its prestigious “Leadership in Environmental Protection” award.

In presenting the award, Ambassador Charles Shapiro, president of the Institute of the Americas, said Ebrard’s administration, through its Plan Verde, or Green Plan, had produced, “enormous environmental benefits for the citizens” of Mexico City.

Research presented by the Institute of the Americas during the Mexico City conference titled, “Electric Vehicles in Mexico: A Green Economic Choice for Fleets,” shows that widespread usage of electric vehicles in urban areas can generate environmental and economic benefits as well as new sources of employment in the manufacturing of automobiles and batteries. It also indicates that companies can increase the use of this technology through the purchase of fleets of vehicles, with a relatively modest short-term investment and an offsetting reduction in energy costs. According to the study, the cost of electric cars is financially feasible for fleets of vehicles operated by public agencies and private companies.

Factors such as high-mileage daily trips will be relevant in determining whether the investment in electric vehicles will reach and exceed the breakeven point of the cost of ownership. Taxi fleets and corporate fleets are viable candidates for introduction of this technology. Widespread acceptance by consumers will require greater governments incentives aimed at the acquisition of vehicles and charging infrastructure, the study said.

A white paper by the Institute of the Americas titled, “Electric Vehicles in Mexico: A Green and Viable Choice for Fleets,” was released during an Oct. 30 forum in Mexico City. Photo by Daniel Reyes

“For GE, supporting and promoting the implementation of policies that favor the mass adoption of electric cars is one of our priorities. This is why we are investing in key areas for the development of this industry: buying electric cars to increase market penetration, placing charging infrastructure for the deployment of vehicles in pilot projects and developing smart grid solutions for electric cars to connect to he network without affecting CFE operations,” said the President and CEO of GE Mexico, Gabriela Hernández. “At GE, we believe that the widespread adoption of both electric cars and charging stations will promote innovation in clean energy, contributing significantly to reducing emissions and providing economic value to users.”

To take full advantage of the benefits of the use of electric vehicles, a close working relationship between the public and private sectors is essential, with the three levels of government cooperating with stakeholders, fleet owners, entrepreneurs and manufacturers.

The Institute of the Americas study shows there is an opportunity for the Mexican government to explore new technology projects on sustainable transport, offering environmental quality and economic growth. The electrification of road transportation could radically change the organization and environmental sustainability for mobility in urban areas of the country. In addition, electric vehicles have significant opportunities for the national economy, job creation and competitiveness among automobile and auto parts manufacturers.

This technology represents an important impetus in efforts to reduce Mexico’s carbon footprint. In terms of fuel cost, the Institute of the Americas study points out that electric vehicles represent a 48% energy savings over gasoline-powered vehicles. This represents a savings for consumers of 34 cents for every six miles traveled. The study noted that the current savings is low, due to a gasoline subsidy by the federal government, but added that the savings differential will improve over time.

The research document concludes with a series of proposals to promote public policy at a national level over the next two years, including pilot programs and vehicle charging stations, analysis of electric rates and the application of current vehicle emission standards nationwide.

More information about the study is available here.

Vehículos Eléctricos en México

Entre las acciones desprendidas de su programa de adaptación al cambio climático, México no cuenta con una estrategia nacional que promueva las ventajas que representa el uso de vehículos eléctricos (VEs). El uso generalizado de VEs en zonas urbanas de México generaría diversos benefi cios ambientales, económicos y en la salud, así como nuevas fuentes potenciales de empleo en la manufactura de automóviles y baterías y puestos de servicios ecológicos, al mimso tiempo que reduciría las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero (GEI).

Vehículos Eléctricos en México

China’s Role as Strategic Economic Partner Vital to Latin America’s Future, Says Barcena of ECLAC

China’s Role as Strategic Economic Partner Vital to Latin America’s Future, Says Barcena of ECLAC

BEIJING – As China increases direct foreign investment in Latin America, it is playing an increasingly important role as a long-term strategic partner, said Alicia Barcena, executive secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

“China is the second largest economic power in the world and one of the largest economic partners of Latin America,” Barcena told an audience of more than 150 people during a keynote address at an Oct. 15 conference in Beijing. ”We believe that in Latin America there are opportunities to convert ourselves into an export platform for China.”

Barcena discussed Latin America’s economic future during a conference titled, “Economic Development: New Opportunities for China, Latin America and the Caribbean,” organized by the Institute of the Americas and the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS) of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. [inset side=left] ”We believe that in Latin America there are opportunities to convert ourselves into an export platform for China.”[/inset]The conference was the third annual Beijing forum organized by the Institute of the Americas and ILAS on the evolving China-Latin America relationship.

The conference focused on three key areas of the China-Americas economic relationship – the energy sector, infrastructure and innovative approaches to creating and expanding companies in Latin America.  Among the speakers during the day-long conference were Luis Vera, founding partner of Vera & Carvajal; James Zimmerman, partner in the Beijing office of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton law firm; Wu Guoping, director of the Research Center for the Free Trade of the Americas of ILAS; Luis Gomez Cobo, partner in SinoLatin Capital in Shanghai; Silvia Sartori, project manager with the Eurpoean Union Chamber of Commerce in China; and Efren Clavo Adame, director of the Chamber of Commerce of Mexico in China.

Business leaders, scholars and government officials from China, Latin America and the United States attended an Oct. 15 conference organized in Beijing by the Institute of the Americas and the Institute of Latin American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). Photo courtesy of ILAS

Zheng Bingwen, director general of ILAS, said there have been “substantial advances” in China-Latin America relations since Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao traveled to Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay in June 2012. During the trip, Wen spoke at ECLAC’s headquarters in Santiago, Chile, about the future of the relationship.

“We are only in the initial phase of a relationship of enormous potential between China and Latin America,” Zheng said told the audience of business leaders, scholars and government officials from China, Latin America and the United States.  “In that context, we have convoked this conference.”

“There is a better panorama for Latin America in the future. That is good news,” Barcena said.[/inset]Barcena singled out Wen’s visit as a watershed event in China-Latin America relations. “The visit of Wen Jiabao marked a very clear before and after in terms of what China wants to do in the economic relationship with Latin America,” she said.

Barcena noted that Latin American countries have faced new economic challenges as the “three motors” of the world economy have decelerated.

“The European crisis has not ended. The United States has very weak economic growth and faces the threat of a new economic recession in 2012 if the Congress does not reach an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff. China’s economic growth has slowed between 7 percent and 8 percent,” she said.  “The emerging countries – all of us in Latin America and Asia – do not have much space to move forward.”

Still, there are bright spots in the region’s economic future.

Latin America and the Caribbean economies will grow at a rate of 3.2 percent in 2012, according to ECLAC’s projections. In 2013, ECLAC predicts strong economic growth for several countries in the region: Panama, 7 percent; Peru, 5.5 percent; Paraguay, 5 percent; Brazil, 4 percent.

Debt is under control in Latin America, with the exception of Caribbean nations such as the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.  And ECLAC predicts a decline in unemployment this year, with Latin American

countries showing gains in reducing poverty.

Latin America is also rich in natural resources, with 13 percent of the world supply of petroleum, 44 percent of the copper, 65 percent of the lithium, 49 percent of the silver and 23 percent of the zinc.

“There is a better panorama for Latin America in the future. That is good news,” Barcena said.

Latin America’s growth depends on adapting to changes in international markets, she said.

“Those countries that have based their economic growth on exports and imports have to rethink that strategy,” said Barcena.  “Trade is not going to be the principal source of revenue in the future.  International commerce is decelerating.”

Latin American and the Caribbean countries “urgently need to reindustrialize themselves,” she said.

“The technological revolution has transformed sectors and has redefined competitive bases.  And the enormous cost of environmental issues has made sustainability a priority,” Barcena said.  “This is a unique opportunity for Latin America in building a strategic economic partnership with China.”

Law Enforcement, Rule of Law and Education Key to Combating Regional Gang Problem, A/S Brownfield Says

Law Enforcement, Rule of Law and Education Key to Combating Regional Gang Problem, A/S Brownfield Says

LA JOLLA – Gang members deported from the United States are building sophisticated criminal networks in Central America that assist drug cartels in the shipment and distribution of drugs, said William Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for Narcotics and Law Enforcement, during an Oct. 1 speech at the Institute of the Americas.

“We deported gang members back to the northern triangle of Central America in the 1990s and the first decade of this century and — without meaning or even realizing it — we sent seasoned criminals back to weak, vulnerable societies,” Brownfield told an audience of almost 100.  “They maintained their connections in the U.S. and throughout Central America. And the more entrepreneurial among them established connections with the more sophisticated drug trafficking cartels headquartered in that large country located between Central America and the United States – Mexico.[inset side=left]“We estimate there are as many as 85,000 18th Street and MS-13 gang members today in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras,”[/inset]

“We estimate there are as many as 85,000 18th Street and MS-13 gang members today in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras,” he said.

Brownfield made his remarks during the opening session of a professional workshop organized by the Institute of the Americas titled, “Drugs, Youth and Demand Reduction.” The Oct. 1-5 workshop offers roundtable discussions with law enforcement professionals, educators and NGOs that work with gang members.  During the workshop, the 14 participants will make a field visit to Los Angeles and will meet with administrators at a juvenile detention facility.  The participants are law enforcement officials and NGO representatives from nine countries in Latin America, including Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Ecuador, Peru, Panama, El Salvador and Guatemala.

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders praised the objectives of the Institute of the Americas’ professional workshop on drugs, youths and demand reduction, telling the audience that, “conferences like this are critically important.” Photo by Russell Edwards

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders praised the objectives of the professional workshop, telling the audience that, “conferences like this are critically important because we never solve anything by ourselves.  The best solutions come from cooperation. The best solutions come from collaboration. I look forward to seeing what comes out of this conference because I’m sure that it’s going to be something that is tremendously important for the world.”

Brownfield described the dimensions of the regional gang problem: “Tens of thousands of disaffected, under-educated and poorly prepared youth, seeing little hope for a future in their traditional communities, band together in criminal organizations…They join because they see the gang structure offering the best option. History teaches that to break them out of the gang structure, they must be convinced of the negative consequences for remaining in the gang, and positive benefits for staying out. The carrot and the stick.”

o address the gang problem, the U.S. government, in collaboration with the governments of three Central American countries, has used both the carrot and the stick.

The FBI manages programs to train and equip police in Central American countries to conduct anti-gang enforcement, Brownfield said. “We also support policing at the community level, because a better policed community is less attractive to organized gangs.”

The United States is also working with the governments of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras to control arms flow. “A criminal gang is bad; a criminal gang armed with automatic weapons is much worse,” Brownfield said.

[inset side=right] “We also support policing at the community level, because a better policed community is less attractive to organized gangs.”[/inset]TIn addition, the U.S. is working with “the often overlooked elements of law enforcement – prosecution, courts and corrections,” he said.  “Efficient police coupled with inefficient rule of law and corrections systems do not solve the gang problem; they merely recycle it.”

”Moises de la Cruz, of the National Police of Ecuador, listens to suggestions for combating gangs during the opening session of the Institute of the Americas’ Oct. 1-5 professional workshop. Photo by Russell Edwards

But breaking the cycle of youth, gangs and violence requires more than aggressive anti-gang policing, Brownfield said. “There must be an alternative offered to the gang member or he will not leave the gang.

Part of the solution is education, prevention and training.  Another part of the gang solution is rehabilitation for those coming out of the gang structure.

“Youth with a basic education and an employable skill are not likely to join gangs,” Brownfield said.  “If the gang member does not see a job waiting at the end of the community program, he will return to the gang.  Unemployment is the life blood of the organized criminal gang.”

A public information campaign must be part of the “carrot” for the criminal gang member, he said.

“Public information is not just a bunch of posters hanging from telephones,” said Brownfield.  “To be effective, gang members must participate in the effort.  They know what appeals to the youth gangs.  They know how to reach them.  Their participation becomes part of their rehabilitation and reentry into society. “

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