Foundations of an Electric Mobility Strategy for the City of Mexicali

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


The Foundations of an Electric Mobility Strategy for the city of Mexicali aligns with numerous energy, environmental, and transport plans and will help Mexicali meet multiple related goals. Mexicali’s energy mix, with 28% renewables, already enables plugin electric vehicles (PEVs) to reduce the mass of greenhouse gases (GHGs) per km driven 2/3 below that of their conventional counterparts. This GHG benefit will increase should Mexicali take steps to further increase their share of renewables in their electricity supply. Beyond increasing renewables, Mexicali could possibly deploy PEVs so that electric load is added in the right location (depending on further analysis of substations and feeders) and at the right time (between 21:00 and 11:00) in order to minimize grid upgrade costs. There are a handful of charge timing control mechanisms –at various stages of development– that Mexicali could implement. Transport electrification can facilitate mass transit by powering buses, trains, and small vehicles that get people from their homes or work to the transit stations and vice versa. Mexicali could utilize fleets as early PEV adopters in order to gain acceptance and add electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). Recommended prioritization of different types of fleets are suggested in this report: transit buses, school buses, airport ground support equipment (GSE), refuse trucks, taxis, shuttle buses, campus vehicles, delivery trucks, utility trucks, and finally semitrailers. There are a handful of policy options that Mexicali could use to incentivize fleets to purchase PEVs, including mandates, economic incentives, energy performance contracts, waivers to access restrictions, electricity discounts, and EVSE requirements in building codes. Mexicali’s taxi fleet was an early adopter of PEVs and had experienced some challenges—mostly related to the insufficient range of the taxis due to hot weather. In this report, we strategize ways to extend the range of the current electric taxis, including ways to make charging more convenient to the drivers, and more suggestions for appropriate vehicles to purchase in the future. This report also includes the groundwork of geotracking Mexicali’s taxi fleet so that more detailed recommendations can be made in the future.Once fleets have increased PEV acceptance and EVSE installations, the market will be ready to expand to private vehicle owners. In order to do this, more EVSE needs to be installed in the right locations. This mobility strategy lays out general local areas where EVSE could be well utilized, based on traffic patterns, land use, and demographic data. Mexicali could approach businesses within these areas that would likely make suitable hosts, based on how well they can profit from the additional business that EVSE would bring. Mexicali could then adopt a series of purchase incentives (including sales tax waivers or access to high-occupancy vehicles [HOV] lanes) that would encourage private vehicle owners to purchase PEVs. Purchase incentives run the risk of creating equity issues, which can be countered by promoting electrification in mass transit, creating more HOV lanes that have PEV exemptions, and installing EVSEs in underserved communities. Private PEV ownership will require a set of experts that Mexicali can help train, including PEV repair technicians, EVSE installation electricians, and first responders.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages39
StatePublished - 2020

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5400-75690


  • battery vehicles
  • city
  • developing country
  • electric mobility
  • plan
  • technical assistance
  • transport
  • urban


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