Urban mobility is one of the key issues for the Smart City and there are a number of notable initiatives in this field currently going ahead in Central and South America. The automobile industry in Latin America is undergoing change and a recent report on the automotive sector there by the Frost & Sullivan consultancy highlights the efforts being made by Brazil, Mexico, Colombia and Argentina to reduce import duties on electric vehicles and develop recharging infrastructure. In fact a survey fact survey conducted by Nissan found that 80% of the Latin-American population would be open to the idea of buying this type of vehicle. Following the launch five years ago of an electric taxi initiative, in partnership with the Rio de Janeiro city authorities, the Japan-based carmaker has now announced plans to begin selling its fully-electric zero emissions model LEAF in Brazil in the near future. Meanwhile Audi and Airbus have just signed a partnership to start running a multimodal passenger service in Mexico City and the Brazilian metropolis São Paulo, whereby airborne solutions such as Voom, the Airbus-owned on-demand helicopter service, will come into play whenever the ground-based infrastructure proves to be inadequate. Uber, which has achieved great popularity in Brazil and is the most-used ride-hailing app there, is now facing competition from 99, a Brazilian startup which was taken over by Chinese ride provider Didi a few months ago; and from Cabify, a Spanish company that is also operating in seven other Latin American countries. Another alternative for getting around town coming soon to Brazil is the first-ever dockless shared bike system in the country, being set up by Yellow, another local firm which has already raised $9 million in capital. Order and progress appear to be the watchwords of future urban mobility in Brazil.
By Marie-Eléonore Noiré