Using Standards to Help Promote E-Mobility in Latin America

October 12, 2021

  • Standards
  • News

Electric vehicle charging

Electric mobility, or e-mobility—the integration of electric vehicles (EVs) into society—has seen growing acceptance around the world in recent years. In Latin America, the demand for electric and hybrid vehicles has been driven by the need to find a sustainable alternative to vehicles powered by fossil fuels. In 2019, Colombia ranked first among Latin American and Caribbean countries in having the highest number of electric vehicle registrations, followed by the Dominican Republic and Chile.1 Similarly, countries including Colombia, Costa Rica, Argentina and Chile have already integrated electric vehicles into public transportation systems as part of a transition to e-mobility.2

Among the challenges facing the adoption of electric vehicles in the region, the following stand out: costs, infrastructure development, social awareness, and the need for regulations. The costs for both the manufacture and sale of an electric vehicle can be significantly higher than those of a conventional vehicle. In addition, subsequent expenses could also be generated by having an electric or hybrid vehicle. However, it is expected that if the demand for these vehicles increases, mass production will also increase, and the costs of production and sale will subsequently decrease.

Infrastructure is also an issue that raises financial concern in countries with larger markets, since e-mobility requires significant investment in extending the systems and resources required to accommodate electric vehicles. A gradual expansion of electricity systems, for example, is necessary due to the increase in energy demand. Although this type of investment may be costly, it could have additional benefits, such as expediting the adoption of new, renewable energy sources in Latin America.

Social awareness, like infrastructure, can also be a significant investment and a determining factor for countries seeking to move toward e-mobility. Because it is necessary to generate knowledge and dispel doubts about the benefits of EV technology, especially in regard to the environment and saving energy, it is essential to help educate and inform regional populations. Governments and regulatory bodies must therefore develop informative campaigns on the effectiveness of EVs and e-mobility. 

Regarding regulation, it is important to note that many Latin American governments are seeking to strengthen regulatory framework to help guarantee the safety of electric vehicle technology and associated infrastructure. Underwriters Laboratories currently aims to support the Latin American region with standards that help to guide the development of the electric and autonomous vehicle industry. In 2020, we published ANSI/UL 4600 Standard for Safety for the Evaluation of Autonomous Products, which includes autonomous vehicles. Our library of nearly 2,000 standards and other documents includes several for electric vehicles in the areas of battery applications, charging systems, fuses, materials and occupant protection

Underwriters Laboratories is a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a safer and more sustainable world through standardization. In 2020, we became the first foreign standards development organization (SDO) authorized to develop national standards for Mexico and the only SDO able to develop national standards in all three countries in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Additionally, Underwriters Laboratories has partnered with organizations throughout Latin America, including the Belize Bureau of Standards (BBS), L'Instituto Colombiano de Normas Tecnicas y Certificacion (ICONTEC), and the Technical Standards Institute of Costa Rica (INTECO), to help in adapting and developing standards for the region.

On Oct. 25-27, Underwriters Laboratories will present a series of webinars explaining how standardization can help to benefit e-mobility in Latin America. Click here to register.