Mexico City - Uncertainty about where gasoline prices are going in Mexico this year may push more motorists to look for alternatives - such as the product of Carlos Slim's new venture. A made-in-Mexico electric vehicle designed by Giant Motors - part of Slim's financial conglomerate Inbursa - could hit the roads in a year's time.
The vehicle will be manufactured through a collaboration with Moldex, a subsidiary of the world's largest bakery, Bimbo, and the Monterrey Institute of Technology (ITESM).
Giant Motors, which last week announced a new venture with Chinese auto maker JAC Motors, expects to have a working prototype ready late this year, and could launch it commercially next year.
The automotive firm anticipates introducing its vehicle as an electric taxi in cities such as the country's capital, to which end it will look for government funding and collaboration to help promote it as an environmentally-sound alternative.
Moldex has been building light-duty electric trucks for its parent company for more than two years at its State of México plant. As of last summer, Bimbo had 320 units in service as delivery vehicles.
Their cargo capacity is 600 kilograms and they have a range of 70 kilometers. Operating costs range between 40 and 50 centavos per kilometer, compared to 2.6 pesos for a gasoline-powered vehicle, said a Moldex executive last year, who explained they can produce 20 such trucks a week.
Moldex announced last summer it would begin selling the trucks for 390,000 pesos, about $19,000 USD.
Foreign car makers also see a market for electric vehicles in Mexico.
American manufacturer General Motors announced this week it will introduce its Chevrolet Volt to the Mexican market.
Described by Forbes magazine as the most efficient vehicle of its kind in the world, the Volt has a range of 383 kilometers, enough to travel from Mexico City to Acapulco on one charge, for example.
The car also offers GM's On Star service, which provides wireless internet connectivity to passengers. The Volt's battery is guaranteed for eight years or 1,600 kilometers. The vehicle will be available at dealerships in Mexico City, Querétaro, Puebla, Monterrey and Guadalajara this summer.Sources: Forbes México • CNN Expansión