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.

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