"An invitation to invest": privates welcome the government’s announcements in electric mobility

The Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining (MIEM) announced its lines of work to promote electric mobility in Uruguay, and the actors in the sector are already reacting to the Uruguayan government’s proposals. “The measures are a good step, they are setting a course towards electric mobility”said the vice president of the Uruguayan Association of Renewable Energies (Auder), Rodrigo Zorrilla de San Martín.

The minister, Omar Paganini, raised three measures that are being carried out within the framework of what is defined as the second energy transformation of Uruguay.

First of all, he said an action table will be held with the participation of the private, public and academic sectors to make decisions that allow a better development of electric mobility.

Zorrilla de San Martín told Coffee & Business that this table has existed for months, but not formally. As of this announcement it will be institutionalized, and it will have a different weight. “It gives us a stronger participation in decisions“, he pointed.

The Uruguayan startup eMobility Solutions is dedicated to facilitating the incorporation of electric vehicles in companies and also seeks to pave the way for those who want to move to a zero emission (carbon) solution. Its director, Alfredo Pintos, considered that it is “very important” that all the actors are sitting at the table sharing their opinions so that the development of electric mobility is richer. “It is essential that clear rules are defined so that the private sector can make investment decisions and develop electric mobility more quickly“, he claimed.

Secondly, from the ministry they proposed to the private places that place chargers with public access and those who do they will have a term of bonification in the charge of contracted power.

According to Zorrilla de San Martín, this announcement that facilitates the generation of a charging network is key to boost electric mobility. Although the National Administration of Power Plants and Transmissions (UTE) has infrastructure, it is mostly slow-charging. It is that to have a fast charging network you need a high contracted power available, and that can cost US $ 500 per month. For the public sector, facing these costs at this time — that load demand is very low — is difficult to face. Therefore, there is interest in private investment in charging infrastructure.

“It is very positive for the sector because it helps to eliminate the cost of contracted power”Pintos said.

Thirdly —and following the line of charger regulation—, the government is going to make an interoperability decree so that charging networks have common standards.

“This type of public policy initiative only reaffirm the good position that Uruguay has in terms of destination of sustainable investments and his ability to experience new things. It is an invitation to invest here and then scale up in other markets in the region.“, affirmed Jaime Miller, founding partner of the firm that connects capital with projects with a positive environmental and social impact, Capital Oriental.

The actors in the sector see the three announcements with good eyes, and understand that they encourage them to continue promoting electric mobility. However, they believe that even one can go a little further in terms of measures. For Zorrilla de San Martín, the proposals of the ministry They are successful in what has to do with infrastructure, but support is lacking in the part of vehicles. For example, he raised the possibility of include electric vehicles within the leasing of utility vehicles. “It would help democratize electricity,” he said.

The benefits of electric vehicles

For Pintos, electric vehicles generate two types of profit. On the one hand, the tax benefit obtained by incorporating zero-emission mobility thanks to project of the Commission for the Application of the Investment Law (Comap). “Today the majority of electric vehicle sales are associated with a Comap project, and the reason is that when you make an investment in a company, and you present a Comap project, there is an evaluation process by indicators and electric mobility scores as the cleanest productionPintos explained.

On the other hand, electric vehicles have benefits in reducing operating costs. It is more efficient than the gasoline combustion vehicle both in terms of fuel and maintenance.

In addition, Uruguay has several instruments that encourage people to choose. Currently there 1,300 electric cars in the Uruguayan market. According to Zorrilla de San Martín, if it is compared with the region, it is a good level. In fact, he assures that the country is one of those with the best electricity penetration in Latin America.

Companies that work in Uruguay

The startup eMobility Solutions has three lines of action regarding electric mobility in Uruguay.

First of all, they are in contact with all the brands that supply electric vehicles to help them recharge. They carry out the electrical installation of the chargers and, also, the steps in a joint venture to increase power if necessary.

In second place, They advise and consult on electric mobility. To exemplify, Pintos said: “If a company that has a fleet wants to know if it is possible for part of its logistics to be done with electric vehicles, we analyze the routes, the logistics and we present the offer of electric vehicles that are in the country, and which ones can be adapted to those routes. They also show you all the benefits that are operational.

Third, they do basic electric mobility courses in Uruguay. “We have trained 400 people,” Pintos said.

Zorrilla de San Martín is also Operations Manager at EverGo Uruguay, a company of Dominican origin that has a platform and software for electric vehicle chargers. As he said, the company already has 500 chargers in the Dominican Republic and is betting on creating a regional network. This already includes the country of origin, Jamaica, Mexico and Panama, and the next countries to be included are Uruguay —which operations begin this month—, and Paraguay.

The plan for the local market is to install 300 chargers in three years, and become a leading company in electric chargers.

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