Mexico City is a veritable hub of activity, and its expanse of almost 1.5 km2 means that it can be difficult to travel from one end of the city to another with relative ease. As a result, many commuters place importance in car use, meaning that the roads have become choked with vehicles, with over 3.5 million cars on the streets and 30 million vehicular trips taken each day. The city is suffocating under the pollution, and some days a cloud of smog literally looms over the horizon, obscuring the vast skyline and the view of Popocatépetl in the distance.

 

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The smog looms over Mexico City. Photo credit: NASA

Mexico has taken steps recently to reduce its impact on the atmosphere, which can be seen in President Peña Nieto’s Energy Reform and the INDC commitments the country has made to reducing black carbon levels and increasing use of renewables in the energy matrix. However, it is undeniable that, with this amount of traffic, the vehicles in Mexico are causing a significant amount of the damage, with CO2 emissions reaching 30.7 million tons in 2012.

Carmakers are now beginning to grasp the importance of sustainability, with German car manufacturer Volkswagen presenting a Tiguan electric concept car at the Detroit Auto Show last month. The European OEM, which has significant manufacturing facilities in Mexico, has gone further by declaring its commitment to hybrid and electric vehicles (EV), a market that currently represents only 1% of the cars sold in North America. It has been suggested that, after the company’s recent woes caused by its emissions scandal, the company wants to clean up its image by promoting zero-emissions options. Although the OEM currently manufactures the electric Tiguan in Germany, plans are being formulated to roll out the process at its Mexican plant in Puebla, which could prove positive news for the North American EV market.

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The Volkswagen Tiguan EV was revealed at the Detroit Auto Show. Photo credit: Autocar

Moreover, Japanese-owned Nissan and German group BMW having recently announced plans to invest MX$13 million in the installation of 150 EV charging stations. This will add to the existing 30 stations in the Valley of Mexico implemented by a coalition between CFE, Walmart, Schneider Electric, and BMW. The new development will be capable of charging any EV that meets the American Standard, and in only 30 minutes will recharge batteries by up to 80%. Nissan and BMW have spearheaded the electric cause, with both companies having already installed these charging stations at their dealerships to recharge the Leaf and the i3 respectively.

However, it is innovative company Qualcomm Technologies that is really making waves within the EV industry. According to the company’s Vice President and General Manager of Wireless Charging Steve Pazlo, the ultimate goal will be the ability to charge the cars while they are being driven. Qualcomm aims to do this through its Halo technology, which currently allows users to simply park in a designated space in order to recharge their EVs, without the need for any cables or wires. “The use of electric vehicles will dominate the market in the coming years in response to the problem of pollution in large cities such as Beijing, Abu Dhabi, Dakar, New Delhi, and Mexico City,” Pazlo claims. Although there are several issues still to be addressed in order to roll out the technology on the wider scale, such as consumer behavior and existing infrastructure, the Halo could certainly ease the transition for many road users.

 

Halo has already been installed in several luxury and sports cars, such as the Rolls Royce Phantom 102EX and the Drayson B12/69EV.

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