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Latin America has great potential to expand clean transportation policies, from higher fuel efficiency standards for conventional cars to improved public transportation. Electric vehicles (EVs) are a critical part of a clean transport agenda, but strong policy incentives are needed to promote widespread EV adoption in the region, according to a new report by the Inter-American Dialogue, entitled “Green Transportation: The Outlook for Electric Vehicles in Latin America.”
In Latin America, electric transport is in an early stage, with just a few thousand vehicles in circulation in the entire region. Latin America faces many barriers to expanding electric vehicle uptake with few of the incentives that have encouraged sales in other regions, such as the United States and Europe. The top barriers are high up-front costs and lack of public charging infrastructure. Concerns about grid reliability and competition from other industries have also stifled EV market growth. Yet, expanding electric mobility in Latin America would offer many benefits in terms of improving air quality and reducing carbon emissions.
The report identifies four main policy areas where governments in Latin America should focus attention on promoting EV uptake:
- Expand pilot programs for high-use electric vehicles, which have significant environmental benefits while demonstrating the effectiveness of EV technology to build public confidence.
- Introduce stronger financial incentives, such as tax reductions for EVs and home charging infrastructure purchases, to reduce high up-front costs and make EVs more competitive with conventional vehicles.
- Increase non-financial incentives, such as access to preferential parking and driving lanes, and strengthen fuel economy standards to give car manufacturers incentives to invest in EV technology.
- Include EVs in broader long-term plans for the energy and transport sectors and introduce EV targets in climate change mitigation goals.