Could Mexico become a transport decarbonization leader?

Could Mexico become a transport decarbonization leader?

Fleets in Mexico have an appetite for zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles across all segments.

A new analysis by CALSTART and its Global Commercial Vehicle Drive to Zero program and campaign (Drive to Zero) finds that Mexico (one of the world’s leading truck manufacturers) could achieve significant climate emission reductions by strategically accelerating zero-emission transport. The report, “Technology and Commercialization Pathways for Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles in Mexico,” analyzes the technical feasibility of the country achieving 30% new zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty (ZE-MHDV) truck and bus sales by 2030 and 100% new ZE-MHDV sales by 2040. The report takes into consideration existing market conditions, barriers, opportunities, and sales data for the Mexican MHDV market.

“Mexico has one of the largest networks of publicly available charging stations in Latin America, the country has favorable import and sales tax rules for zero-emission vehicles, and fleets are signaling strong interest in zero-emission trucks – but much more must be done,” said Jessica Olson, vice president of policy for CALSTART, who produced the report. “A clear and ambitious policy framework for accelerating zero-emission trucks and buses will significantly reduce Mexico’s growing transport emissions.”

Top findings of the report include:

  • Mexico can achieve 36% new zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales by 2030, if it sets ambitious policy goals and creates a supportive ecosystem for accelerating zero-emission transport.
  • Based on market conditions, five out of the six truck and bus categories analyzed could reach between 94% and 100% zero-emission sales by 2040 in Mexico.
  • If the proposed targets are achieved, Mexico could prevent the consumption of close to 60,000 million gallons of diesel fuel by 2050. The annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions avoided from reducing this diesel consumption would be the equivalent of removing more than 13 million passenger cars by 2050.
  • The cost of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure is the most-cited barrier to limiting zero-emission truck and bus adoption in Mexico. However, multiple studies have shown that total cost of ownership parity with diesel will be achieved before 2030, and much sooner in segments like transit buses and cargo vans. An ICCT case study of Mexico’s BRT system Metrobús showed that in 2022 battery-electric vehicles were already 21% cheaper than diesel if operated over 10 years.
  • Fleets in Mexico are showing a growing demand for ZE-MHDVs, with purchase orders exceeding 1,690 vehicles across all segments in 2022.

The ZE-MHDV targets analyzed in the new report have already been adopted by 27 countries around the world — including the United States, Canada, Chile, Uruguay, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and others— under the Global Memorandum of Understanding on Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles (Global MOU). Global MOU signatories agree to set a goal of at least 30% new ZE-MHDV sales by 2030 and 100% new ZE-MHDV sales by 2040.

“As the seventh-largest vehicle manufacturer and the largest truck exporter in the world, transport is deeply embedded with Mexico’s economic growth,” said CALSTART’s Ricardo García Coyne, who co-authored the report. “By setting strategic goals and taking action now, Mexico can dramatically shift its transportation sector toward zero-emission technologies. Doing so would mitigate the risk of strong economic downturns for the Mexican automotive industry, while also cutting dangerous diesel emissions that harm its environment and people.”

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