Electromobility in Latin American countries benefits from various incentives that facilitate the import and commercialization of these types of vehicles.
Among these incentives are exemptions from value-added tax, tariffs, financing plans, reduced vehicle inspection costs, and so on.
These are mostly economic and tax-related measures.
However, there are other ‘non-fiscal’ measures that can also promote the everyday use of electromobility in cities. What stands out in Latin America?
In some countries, programs have been developed with the aim of easing traffic congestion in major cities during peak hours while simultaneously reducing pollution generated by engines.
Certain regulations prohibit the circulation of vehicles that meet specific criteria, usually based on the final digit of the licence plate.
An example of this is the Municipal Rotation in São Paulo. Implemented by the Municipal Secretary of Mobility and Transport (SMT) in 1997, since 2014, it exempts electric, hydrogen, and hybrid vehicles.
This rule applies not only to plates registered in that city, but also to those registered in other Brazilian states.
In case of being wrongly fined, citizens have the right to appeal for the penalty to be dismissed.
The Central American country is implementing measures that go beyond economic incentives to support the development of electromobility.
In this regard, Costa Rica is the only country in Latin America that has a specific licence plate for electric vehicles.
The green one has been in effect since 2019 and can be requested through the National Registry. For electric vehicles purchased before that year, a replacement can be requested.
This applies to cars, motorcycles, cargo transport vehicles, minibuses, and buses.
Moreover, the metropolitan area of San Jose in Costa Rica adheres to restrictions on private transport during peak hours.
The green licence plate grants the driver an exemption from this rule, allowing them to drive their vehicle at any day and time.
Another provision outlined in Law No. 9518 on Incentives and Promotion for Electric Transport pertains to parking.
According to the regulations, every public car park must have at least one Blue Parking space, reserved for preferential use by electric vehicles.
This country also has a vehicle restriction measure, in this case, called Pico y Placa. It can be extended or expanded territorially based on environmental contingencies such as poor air quality.
Therefore, electromobility has an advantage.
In Medellín, in July 2023, Decree 0644 came into effect, confirming the continuity of the measure and, for the first time, including zero and low-emission vehicles. It will last for one year.
Electric cars are exempt from the restriction and can circulate at any time.
However, in the case of hybrids, it is mandatory to submit the request to the Mobility Secretariat of Medellín.
In October of the same year, Bogotá made a similar decision.
Hybrid and battery-powered vehicles would also be exempt from the local Pico y Placa, but with the requirement to register in the Capital. In other words, it only applies to local cars.
After this process, the exemption can be requested at the Single Mobility Services Window of Bogotá.
In the Metropolitan District of Quito, there is the ‘Hoy no circula’ (No circulation today), also with the aim of rationing road space.
Since 2021, electric vehicles are not restricted for circulation at the local or national level.
In Mexico City, a vehicular program with the same name as the Ecuadorian one was launched, and it extends to the entire State of Mexico, Pachuca, Puebla, and Toluca.
As in the previous examples, both battery-powered and hybrid vehicles have been granted exemptions.
Air pollution in Mexico City is one of the most pressing issues affecting the quality of life for citizens, with an annual toll of 9,300 deaths according to the WHO.