While oil production continues to determine Mexico’s path and remains the world’s largest energy source, new technological advancements have revolutionized the way in which society sees the world, and how they expect everyday occurrences to unfold.
Although this new perception may be shared among specific society members of the world’s most industrialized nations, peripheral markets and developing countries are beginning to see a growing demand and increased responsiveness to such technology; among the most noteworthy, hybrid and electric vehicles (EVs) top the list. As such, Mexico – regardless of its flawed environmental regulations – has made way for new global trends, which have now reached the world’s fifteenth largest economy, according to The World Bank.
As it is the norm, the right infrastructure must always accompany technology shifts, otherwise, it becomes obsolete. Thus, the establishment of sufficient electric stations to cover a growing demand is of the essence. So far, the country has done a fair job at facilitating this with the help of the private initiative, however, it is far insufficient if the market’s thirst for EVs continues to rise. “The world is increasingly aware of environmental concerns, and hybrid and electric vehicles are the next step for both consumers and the automotive industry,” stated Enrique Ochoa Reza, Director General of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). “An agreement between CFE and the Mexican Association of the Automotive Industry (AMIA) has been reached […] our objective looks to propel the development of more electrolineras (charging stations) and foment the use of hybrid and electric vehicles,” he declared.
Such electrolineras look to service a limited, but expanding, line of products that have positioned themselves in the Mexican market, and whose favorable performance have created an upsurge in the desirability of their technology. Accordingly, consumers can presently find industry giants in Mexico’s hybrid club, including the BMW 335 Active Hybrid (ER), the Honda CRZ, Infiniti Q50 Hybrid, and Toyota Prius. Among the largest advantages that said technologies have to offer, some stand out in a city where the propensity to develop health complications is high. According to the Electric Power Research, EVs are, at the bare minimum, 97% cleaner than combustion based vehicles. As such, they make for 80% of a city’s pollution levels, which come to show the dramatic drop in carbon emissions if the segment were to flourish in Mexico City’s everlasting grey skies. “Technological advancements in hybrid and electric vehicles will better the lives of millions. We could be on our way to transition toward a reduction in fossil fuel consumption, which will improve our health and the environment,” commented Joaquín Coldwell, Minister of Energy.
Although the performance of green vehicles is not necessarily inadequate in terms of speed, the “eye candy” factor seems to be lacking in the majority of the aforesaid models, creating a gap between new technology trends and lax customers with little-to-no interest in environmental matters. As true as this may be, Mexican consumers will soon be provided with an alternative that can suit both ends of the straw.
EVs in the Mexican Market
The revolutionary Tesla Motors has recently established its first exhibition center in Mexico City’s upper-class neighborhood, Santa Fe, looking to position itself as the segment’s leader. As of today, product availability will be limited to the Model S, whose characteristics read as “Cero emissions. Cero concessions.” and whose cutthroat lines are designed to evenly grab the attention of consumers, without exception; however, the Model X SUV, will soon follow.
Its 3.0 second, 0-100 km/h gasoline-less performance is yet another of its distinctive characteristics, giving Tesla an edge over its competitors. Be that as it may, what sets the Model S apart the most is its state-of-the-art automatic pilot, which allows it to safely cruise in a single lane, constantly switch them, and control the vehicle’s speed through its intelligent and active speed control system. Additionally, its breaks and engine control enhances the vehicle’s safety by minimizing the risk of front and lateral collisions. This technology, although impressive, remains questionable in a city where transit regulations serve as mere guidelines, and where anarchic behaviors permeate to most drivers. In order to ease concerns, users can now schedule driving test in Santa Fe’s main mall, something that Mexico Automotive Review certainly will do in days to come.
In addition, the impact that BMW’s i3 and i8 models have had in Mexico since their market inclusion is palpable. While the first serves as the luxury brand’s only EV, the latter is the company’s first ever hybrid sports car, which looks to combine the technological advantages that both electric and combustion engines have, while keeping the dynamism and character of a sports unit with its 0-100 km/h performance of 4.4 seconds. The i8’s starting price is MX$2,501,900 (US$166,793), making it a farfetched dream for a large part of the population; however, the i3’s starting price is set at MX$699,900 (US$46,660), which grants accessibility to those looking for total sustainable mobility and adequate dimension for an overpopulated megalopolis. As such, the i3 is fitted to reach 0-100 km/h speeds in 7.2 seconds through electrical propulsion alone.
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV, although not as appealing to the eye, has a much more affordable price at MX$344,925 (US$22,995), making it “the most affordable EV in the US.” Its 160km autonomy and 130 km/h maximum speed provides drivers with enough to get by, but nothing more. On the other hand, the Nissan Leaf’s selling price begins at MX$548,500 (US$36,566), with a top speed of 140 km/h and 160km autonomy, making it creditor of holding the title of Mexico’s first ever electric taxi. In addition, the Nissan Leaf reuses 90% of the heat energy that is created in breaking processes, reducing the wear down of brake pads and minimizing maintenance costs. Finally, Renault’s Kangoo ZE and Twizy have autonomy of 160km and 80km, respectively, while reaching top speeds of 160 km/h and 80 km/h.
EVs are trending worldwide, and consumers understand the reasons. Their availability continues to grow and, as such, Mexico Automotive Review will keep its eyes opened and its ears on the ground for future progressions and technological developments in an expanding sector that could exponentially better the quality of life of the world.