Electric vehicles are already here and will be with us for the foreseeable future. But the reality is that its adoption is growing at different rates around the globe, and there are several factors that influence this increment, and those are connected to socio-economic variables.
Latin America, and more specifically some areas of South America (Argentina, Chile, Peru) have the advantage of both unique climate attributes, such as tremendous amounts of sun for the generation of electric solar-based power, and for having some of the world’s largest lithium mining reserves, critical for the manufacturing of batteries required to store and use this electric energy in the vehicle propulsion application. So one would assume that this part of the world would be a prime location where EVs should and would have exponential growth.
But reality and economics show us that maybe the timing is not yet right for a such a surge in the area, and this is based on three very important factors:
EVs are still very expensive and when you consider that the local or regional OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) still only produce fossil fuelled vehicles, all EV’s would have to be imported from abroad. This has cost implications such as the high taxes charged for imported vehicles, and would make buying an EV only an option for high-income members of society.
Even if the vehicles would be economically available, then Latin America would still face limitations in infrastructure for charging EVs. In major cities like Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Mexico City or Santiago de Chile, there are charging stations on the tens, not thousands, so having an EV would not allow vehicle owners to travel any distance further than potentially an hour away from their homes, where they would have to return and recharge the vehicle for further use.
Finally remains the “cultural” barrier where companies and governments need to convince society of the value and benefits of having EVs proliferating in the market, but with high cost and a lack of infrastructure, this proves to be difficult. The growing population will require means of movement for their daily lives and a strong campaign will be needed by governments to explain the benefits for people and society.
The uptake of EVs will rise and come to regions even like Latin America, but cost and infrastructure are key to support this movement in order to see the transport sector move to alternatively powered vehicles.