Electric Mobility is a reality in Colombia

3rd December 2019

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Electric Mobility is a reality in Colombia

Electric Mobility is a reality in Colombia, on November 6th and 7th, WEC Colombia held the III Encuentro Internacional de Movilidad Eléctrica with an attendance of 1150 people, the presence of three ministers and one deputy minister. Here the following topics were addressed: The policy of 3D (decarbonization, digitization and decentralization) is taking hold worldwide, and Colombia is working to follow this trend. Electric Mobility plays a key role in this policy by increasing the electrification of cities, considering that an electric vehicle can require the same amount of power as 1 to 3 homes.

The National Government has been working on several measures to boost the growth in electric mobility and ensure sustainability in the sector. In the National Development Plan and the National Strategy for Electric Mobility, different aspects have been defined with the objective of achieve electric mobility. It is stipulated that strategies and policies must be created to promote sustainable transport, also, create and strengthen the regulatory, political and institutional framework to facilitate the entry of electric vehicles into the market, likewise, the program to replace the official and public fleet is stipulated. And in Law 1964 of 2019, this law indicates, among other aspects, the benefits and incentives that are available for purchasing this type of vehicle.

Currently, the Ministry of Mines and Energy is working on the definition of hourly tariffs, technical regulations for chargers, analysis of the charging rate of electric vehicles, among other fundamentals aspects to promote the use of electric vehicles. Through these tools, it is committed to having a fleet of about 600,000 electric vehicles by 2030. Other government ministries and players are also committed to the cause, as 80% of CO2 emissions are generated by mobile sources, so sustainable mobility plays a key role in reducing pollution-related respiratory diseases.

Government support is critical to promoting the purchase of electric vehicles, there are still regulatory, policy, economic, infrastructure and market challenges. High investment is one of the biggest barriers, but it is expected that, with advances in technology in the sector, this obstacle will be reduced more and more and in the coming years, the price difference between conventional and electric cars will be minimal.

Various technology and vehicle suppliers, who attended is this meeting, have proven to be prepared for change, presenting their current innovations and their projects for the following years, demonstrating that, for them electric mobility is not the future but the present, so they are working hard to deliver solutions that adapt to the current needs of people.

Issues beyond electric mobility were also addressed. Natural gas, despite the opinion of some sectors, takes center stage in relation to sustainable mobility as transition fuel, this has almost zero particulate matter emissions, also presents CO2 reduction of almost 50% against coal, and is flexible and affordable. By the end of this year, 200 additional cargo trucks are expected to use natural gas in the country.

We had a space for hydrogen too. This is used to store electrical energy, which allows to shorten charging times and increase vehicle autonomy. For heavy-duty and long-distance transport, it is an ideal technology, since it would take a lot of batteries to have the necessary autonomy. On the other hand, it can also be used for trains and other types of transport, such as boats, allowing you to reach a transport segment to which batteries still do not arrive massively. However, in urban areas, where routes are short, batteries play a better role for their lower costs.

Also, there were different international experiences. China is one of the countries that has stood out most in this area, they have a sustainable policy to improve the use of electric vehicles but in the future, it seeks to reduce subsidies, since electric vehicles will be competitive by itself in the future. Currently, that country has 420,000 electric buses.

In Shanghai by 2022 all public vehicles will be fully electrified and currently in Shenzhen, the fleet of heavy-duty trucks and electric taxis is the largest in the world also, all public buses are 100% electric and at present, they have 7,000 charging points across the city.  

The biggest aspect to highlight the event is the commitment of the different entities, companies and institutions, both private and public in favor of electric mobility. The government has been clear in setting goals. in Law 1844 of 2017, Colombia is committed to the Paris Agreement and seeks to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2030, electric mobility is fundamental to this, so it has been working to boost this sector.

Companies that are not directly related to the sector also had an important participation, by implementing electric vehicles in their transport segment and generating alliances with the different players, largely promote the country's electric mobility, since companies, regardless of their characteristics, must take the sustainable path to succeed in this century.

This transition is exponential, it begins slowly, but it will grow and continue in the coming years, for this, coordination between the different players is necessary to meet the expected goals. Likewise, among cities, to use the resources properly and create a robust system that secure the users of this type of vehicle.

The participation of universities and academies is essential, it must train future professionals in the area, so that the lack of specialized labor will not be an excuse, also inform the citizens with real data on the conditions of air quality and how electric mobility can reduce this problem.

This type of events allows to bring the community closer to the sector, solving doubts, eliminating some related myths and highlighting the benefits, for example, the electric vehicles are between 3 and 5 times more efficient than internal combustion vehicles, and since electric vehicles depend on different energy sources, energy security is increased.

Finally, it should be emphasized that the sector is constantly changing, the consumer is  increasingly informed and with greater decision-making power, developers must not only generate products, rather than vehicles and charging stations, they must deliver solutions, The government must adapt to, understand, incentivize and regulate outgoing technologies in the best way, where it is important to refer other countries and use their advances to reduce potential problems.

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