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What’s missing in Mexico’s EV strategy? – International Council on Clean Transportation

October 7, 2022 | By: Leticia Pineda

The electrification of transport is underway on all continents, but it is not advancing at the same pace in all markets. Mexico, a laggard in transport electrification, now shows signs of awakening to the challenge. After years of implementing lax fuel economy regulations for light-duty vehicles (LDVs) and eliminating import taxes on EVs only temporarily, pro-EV government action has suddenly picked up:
These are all strong steps in the right direction, but they need better articulation. In addition, Mexico’s strategy requires long-term binding targets, and an enabling regulatory framework.
Markets leading the transition to ZEVs have often used five policies to accelerate adoption of ZEVs: 1) phase-out targets, 2) ZEV regulations and CO2 standards, 3) fiscal incentives, 4) charging and refueling infrastructure, and 5) consumer awareness and fleet purchase requirements.
Through the lens of these policies, opportunities for Mexico to increase efforts to accelerate the transition to EVs become evident. Here are areas in which Mexico needs to step up its game:
Without EV-forcing standards, it’d be difficult to increase the national ZEV LDV sales share from the current 0.33%. The declared goal of producing 50% of the LDV fleet as ZEVs by 2030 will not necessarily boost domestic sales of EVs. Instead, the status quo could continue: the most efficient and clean vehicles would be produced in Mexico but not sold there. Keep in mind that Mexico is the 4th largest vehicle exporter in the world, with 80% of domestic production destined for the North American market.
With regard to heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs), despite progress in Latin America—Chile and Brazil have adopted HDV efficiency standards—Mexico shows no signs of following that path.
Colombia adopted the first vehicle purchase mandate in Latin America, establishing by law progressive electric bus purchase requirements starting in 2025 at 10% and reaching 100% ZEVs by 2035. Purchase mandates for bus operators and government fleets help to accelerate heavy-duty ZEV adoption in the short term. Low- and zero-emission zones are another type of policy that can support fleet transformation; Mexico City has committed to implementing a low-emission zone by 2024.
With adopted and proposed policies and targets in North America to accelerate the deployment of ZEVs, Mexico can step up and work toward a regional decarbonization economy and even explore new domestic opportunities like the manufacturing of batteries and other EV components. Domestic and export markets should both be transformed.
But the first piece of an effective EV strategy is missing: phase-out targets for all vehicle segments. Mexico needs to send a clear signal of its ambition and pace to transform the transport sector, considering its climate goals and international commitments.
Countries like Chile can be a role model for Mexico. Chile published its National Electromobility Strategy in October 2021, which includes ZEV sales targets for all types of on- and off-road vehicles starting with the phase-out of ICE sales of urban buses and of light- and medium-duty vehicles by 2035.
It’s Mexico’s turn to catch up and join the challenge. More information on ZEV adoption scenarios and recommendations for Mexico under the ZEV Transition Council, which Mexico is part of, will follow in future blogs.
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Emissions reduction benefits of a faster, global transition to zero-emission vehicles
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Zero-emission vehicle deployment: Latin America
April 20, 2022
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