Mexico’s state electricity company, Walmart, BMW and Schneider Electric innovate

Volcanic mountains surrounding Mexico City create air inversions that cloak it in trapped pollutants, much of it from ‘snarled traffic’, but over the last twenty years its air quality has greatly improved; new laws have reduced the city’s dirty industrial footprint, which had included lead smelters.

MexicoCityair pollutionThe Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), Mexico’s state electricity company, has inaugurated four “electrostations” – recharging stations for electric or hybrid cars – in partnership with retailer Walmart, carmaker BMW and Schneider Electric, an electricity distribution and management company which has developed (in Mexico) the all-car compatible “plug”.

Jude Webber, reporting for the FT, considers that the four electrostations are a very useful step forward.

EV Fleet notes that BMW has donated the Schneider EVLink units to the project in Mexico city and CFE will offset the electricity used for charging with 100% renewably-sourced energy from nearby wind farms. If demand grows, CFE will set up a renewable energy generation project to supply the electrostations.

electric car charging pointsShoppers can park and recharge their cars – any make or model – free of charge while they are inside the store. Walmart pays the cost of every recharging of electric or hybrid cars in its installations to the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE).

About thirty electrostations are planned initially in the Valley of Mexico and more in other parts of the country … other self-service shops, shopping centres and banks are also interested in using space in their current car parks to work with CFE to establish electrostations with universal service for all electric and hybrid cars.

The price of petrol in Mexico, set by the government with fuel sold exclusively by state oil company Pemex for now, is 41% more expensive than in the US and recharging an electric car with the technology installed at the Walmart stations takes three hours and costs just 40 pesos ($2.70).

Last year, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (HSPH) started work on the Mexico City-Harvard Alliance for Air Quality and Health. The five-year, bi-national collaboration will study how well two decades of air quality regulation in Mexico have improved health and economic outcomes.