Emerging countries towards electric mobility: the case of Chile

Significant steps forward, but the cost obstacle remains.


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Freely inspired by "This Latin American country is charging ahead with electric vehicles" - World Economic Forum 12th December 2018

The transition to electric mobility is no longer a prerogative of developed countries: even the emerging ones are acquiring a significant role. In this sector, China holds a leading position: it is the largest producer of electric vehicles, and the country where the largest number of electric cars was sold last year, making it the first market on a global scale.

In addition to China, in recent times even smaller countries are getting involved on the theme of sustainable mobility: one of the main examples is Chile. The Chilean government is carrying on an ambitious plan to promote electric mobility and deal with Santiago’s notorious smog problem. Since Chile is the second-largest producer of lithium, the interest in electric vehicles is also linked to the opportunity to export this material, key component in electric vehicle batteries.

The Chilean government goal for 2050 is to reach a 40% share of electric vehicles on the total private fleet and a 100% share in public transport. Chile’s ambitious plan involves all type of transport: cars, taxis, scooters, but also trucks, used in the mining industry. Thanks to this initiative, Chile is becoming a pioneer on the theme of electric mobility in Latin America and among emerging countries.

However, several challenges could burden on the implementation of the project, first of all the presence of few recharge points in the country and high price of electric vehicles, which makes them inaccessible to most part of the population.
The implementation of the plan is still in its infancy right now. At the end of November the first 100 electric buses arrived from China, and soon another hundred will enter the country, inaugurating the new phase towards sustainability.

Also other Latin American countries are making the first tentative steps towards electric mobility. Despite the obvious advantages in terms of less pollution and lower maintenance costs, there still is planty of room for improvement.