Mexico’s foreign minister says Mexico is in talks with top automakers to produce electric cars

Mexico is preparing to establish several electric vehicle manufacturing hubs across the country and is in talks with some of the world’s top automakers, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard told Reuters.

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February 4, 2023 at 16:27 pm

The comments come as Tesla seeks to build a factory and BMW plans to make high-voltage batteries and electric vehicles in Mexico (Associated Press)

The shock of the pandemic and two years of supply chain disruption are colliding with a once-in-a-century shift in the industry’s underlying technology as combustion-engine vehicles give way to electric vehicles.

Ebrard said in an interview late Thursday that Mexico is keen to capitalize on the global shift to electric vehicles.

In an interview on Thursday, Ebrard said Mexico wanted to “do what we can,” adding that companies including BMW and Audi, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Tesla had expressed interest in producing in the country.

“We will do everything we can to accommodate them,” Ebrard said.

His comments come as Tesla is said to be looking to build a factory in Mexico, while BMW is investing 800 million euros ($866 million) in the central Mexican state of San Luis Potosí to produce high-voltage batteries and all-electric vehicles.

“The Mexican auto industry has a lot of advantages over the U.S.,” Ebrard said, referring to its geographic location, existing infrastructure and expertise.

“Compared to the US, the financial burden on the export sector is already much lower.”

Ebrard said after returning from a trip to a solar park under construction in the northern border state of Sonora that Mexico was focused on making sure it had the right conditions to persuade foreign companies to invest.

“They’re more concerned about having a secure supply of clean energy, having water, having the people they need, facilitating transmission lines,” he said.

Mexico also needs to push consumers toward electric vehicles, said Harald Gottsche, head of BMW’s factory in San Luis Potosí state, where the plant will produce all-electric cars.

“It needs a political provision … that didn’t really start by itself. We don’t see that in Mexico today, not across the board,” he said.

Environmentalists have criticized President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for pursuing a regressive nationalist energy policy that prioritizes state-owned company CFE and its polluting power plants .

But during a visit to the solar park on Thursday, Mexican officials sought to allay concerns about Lopez Obrador’s pledge to transition away from fossil fuels.

Ebrard has been more outspoken on issues of the environment and climate change.

Beyond electric vehicles, Ebrard said he is also keen to attract more semiconductor and battery companies and build transportation infrastructure at the Gulf of Mexico port of Coatzacoalcos.

Ebrard, a likely contender to succeed Lopez Obrador in the 2024 presidential election, said accelerating the energy transition is a top priority.

“Most energy policy is already determined by law … I’m not going to change that,” Ebrard said. “It’s not the question, it’s the speed at which we need to generate clean energy.” (Reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher; Additional reporting by Kylie Madry; Editing by Stephen Eisenhammer and Jonathan Oatis)

First published date: Feb 4, 2023 at 16:27 PM CST

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