Price reduction emerges as the main challenge in electromobility
One of the most ambitious goals of the National Electromobility Strategy aims for 100% of sales of light and medium vehicles to be zero emissions by 2035 and, although there is already progress, experts warn that massification will depend on the development of the brands. and government incentives.
A little more than two years ago, the Government adopted a plan to promote the development of electromobility in the country, through a national strategy that contemplates ambitious goals in the short, medium and long term. Among them, it was defined that 100% of sales of vehicles for interurban passenger transportation and land freight transportation will be zero emissions by 2045 and that all sales of light and medium vehicles will be zero emissions by 2035.
However, in the field of the electric car market there is still a lack of massification. “We are moving decisively as a country in this sense, hand in hand with public-private collaboration and thanks to a public policy that has allowed, consistently and with a long-term vision since the last decade, to generate the frameworks for the deployment of technology. But also, on the other hand, we have to face challenges that have to do with issues related to what a great technological change means and with changes in market and cultural paradigms,” says Rosa Riquelme, executive director of the Agency Energy Sustainability (SE Agency).
Even so, some advances in electromobility are already evident, such as incipient plans that incorporate the maritime and air transport sectors to the use of new fuels and the result of a public-private alliance that will allow the development of the first hydrogen bus in the country. “Mining, last mile services or public transportation have become a model in this line, to name a few,” says Andrea Castro, general manager of Copec Voltex, emphasizing that it is key for the sector to prepare by adapting and increasing its facilities to receive the demand “that will inevitably come.”
In this scenario, for Ignacio Santelices, Sustainability Manager of Fundación Chile, “it is completely possible to ensure that new vehicles from 2035 are electric,” he says, highlighting the work that has been done to generate regulatory and market conditions for this. occurs when it is economically viable. “We have an Energy Efficiency Law that will generate important incentives starting in 2024, which will make brands bring electric vehicles to Chile, which is a huge challenge for small countries like ours,” he adds.
The barriers of massification
Although the efforts are going in a good direction, “today if we consider the country’s situation, it is not very attractive to invest in a private electric vehicle, since its purchase value is very high compared to a combustion one and, on the other hand, its future sale is uncertain,” explains Rodrigo Troncoso, Sales and Marketing Director of Arval. In his opinion, the massification of electromobility will depend on the development of brands and government support and incentives.
An analysis shared by Carlos Silva, associate professor of the Faculty of Engineering and Sciences of the Adolfo Ibáñez University, specialist in regulation and markets at the Center for Energy Transition (CENTRA-UAI), who states that “the fulfillment of the goals for 2035 depends strongly from the decline in prices of electric vehicles worldwide. Another of the barriers that he mentions is the lack of charging points and electric stations, since since the vast majority of these are concentrated in the capital, they position electromobility as a solution only for urban uses.
In that sense, Castro assures that there are currently more than a thousand charging points with public access, which shows good progress for the current electric vehicle fleet: “We believe that the development of charging infrastructure has been generating a turning point, which has increasingly allowed the massive entry of electromobility,” he points out.
Furthermore, contrary to what is happening in the European Union with the shortage of lithium for the energy transition, “the challenge as a country is how we take advantage of this increase in demand for an abundant mineral in our territory,” concludes Riquelme.