5 challenges to migrate to electromobility in Argentina

Different types of electric vehicles and personal mobility devices (skateboards, bicycles, motorcycles, ATVs, cars) and hybrids have been in circulation for some years now, after having received their corresponding approvals (Getty).

The adoption of the electromobility in our country it may seem like an anachronistic debate. The idea of ​​having silent cities with clean air, free from the purring of engines and the toxic smoke from exhausts, is far from us. But in that temporary distance lies an opportunity to recognize the imminence of this paradigm shift and to provide the necessary tools to keep up with the new times.

Even so, this discussion takes time. In 2007, the former president of Israel and Nobel Peace Prize, shimon peres, gave his full support to the tenacious entrepreneur shai agassi at the World Economic Forum in Davos, when they understood -for economic, environmental and geopolitical reasons- that land transport had to be completely freed from dependence on oil. Today the European Union already has its roadmap, establishing 2035 as the cut-off year for internal combustion engines.

Argentina has not yet set a similar goal, which does not mean that it has not begun to take its first steps on this path. For several decades, progress has been made in our country in the electrification of rail passenger transport (trains and subways), and for some years now different types of electric vehicles and personal mobility devices have been circulating (skateboards, bicycles, motorcycles, quadricycles, automobiles) and hybrids, after having received their corresponding approvals.

The need for this transition has to do, on the one hand, with compliance with international commitments to reduce greenhouse gases within the framework of climate action and, on the other, with the reduction of noise and atmospheric pollution that internal combustion vehicles directly cause in urban areas, causing serious public health problems. Additionally, there is a need to adapt our production chains to global demands so that our competitiveness is not undermined.

In this context, we are faced with 5 main challenges so that our country can plunge fully into this change of era:

1- Battery production and post-consumption management: electric vehicles require the use of large lithium batteries. Argentina has one of the main reserves of this mineral in the world, which offers enormous potential for the strategic development of the production of lithium compounds and also of the batteries themselves. The great challenge lies in devising solutions for the post-consumer environmental management of the waste from these batteries, whose useful life may possibly exceed that of the vehicles themselves. This gives the sector and governments an additional time of at least ten years to polish the technology, build the respective facilities and adapt the regulations.

2- Charging infrastructure: At the moment, electric vehicles have less autonomy than traditional ones, so it is necessary to think of alternatives to guarantee charging points in urban areas and routes in the country, ideally in public-private cooperation schemes that allow the development of a wide network. , competitive and adapted to the needs of users.

3- Electrical matrix: For the use of electric vehicles to be truly sustainable, it is necessary to decarbonize our electrical matrix. This is achieved through the incorporation of renewable energy sources (mainly solar and wind), which today barely cover less than 20% of the demand of the Argentine wholesale electricity market (WEM). If we do not do this, we will be using electricity produced mainly through the burning of fossil fuels, that is, emitting greenhouse gases at the time of generation.

4- Rate scheme: In line with the above, the rate scheme must accompany this transition. At present, fossil fuels are subsidized in our country, responding to different sectoral and strategic needs -a model that deserves a true in-depth discussion-. These policies affect a lower generation cost for electricity from a fossil source. Its eventual continuation forces the design of mechanisms to harmonize said model with the need to promote the purchase and generation of energy from renewable sources, resulting in reasonable costs and tariffs for cleaner electricity.

5. Trade balance: The fact that the main inputs for these vehicles are produced abroad requires us to think about plans to adapt our productive framework and promote technological development so that the jump to electric mobility does not alter the trade balance with an increase in imports.

In conclusion, it is necessary to think about solutions and find consensus to design a roadmap once and for all, because electromobility is modernity, it is health, and it is also insertion into global value chains, resulting in more efficient and that allows us to have products and services with a lower associated carbon footprint. To engage in this discussion is to give a guarantee seal to the future competitiveness of our productive sector.

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5 challenges to migrate to electromobility in Argentina