Pura Vida! Driving Smart Electric Mobility in Costa Rica
Rapid deployment of electric vehicles in emerging economies is key to dealing with climate change, and as recent progress in Costa Rica shows, Norway’s mass-deployment of EVs is an invaluable example
This is a GUEST COMMENTARY written by Norwegian Bjørn Utgård, Co-founder ESCOIA, and Mónica Araya, Executive director Costa Rica Limpia. Araya will also be key note speaker at the Nordic EV Summit 2017 in Drammen, Norway. The International Energy Agency recently calculated that more than a billion (1,000,000,000) electric vehicles are needed by 2040 to live up to the Paris climate agreement. That means adding an average of more than 40 million electric vehicles (EVs) every year for the next 24 years, or about half of global vehicle sales. A large portion of these EVs will need to be deployed in emerging economies, since this is where most people live and car ownership is quickly expanding. Costa Rica, a small Central-American country of 5 million people, offers early insight into how that can play out. Costa Rica has long been dedicated to environmental stewardship, pioneering rain forest protection and innovative financing mechanisms for environmental services. In 2015, 99% of its electricity was renewable, and large solar, wind and river resources remain untapped. Speak with Costa Ricans and they will tell you “Pura Vida” (literally “pure life”) is not just marketing – it is a core cultural value. In 2015, Costa Rica set a goal to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 25% from 2012 to 2030, and Costa Rica is one of only 5 countries whose national climate commitments were rated ‘sufficient’. The Norwegian success story is invaluable to the promotion of e-mobility in emerging markets. As consumers and decision-makers in emerging markets seek to overcome doubts, resistance and practical obstacles to electric mobility, they are taking guidance from Norway’s experience. By showing that mass-deployment of electric vehicles is both sensible, attractive and doable, Norwegian e-mobility pioneers are not just doing themselves a favor, they are also setting an example for the world to follow. Author bios:
- Bjørn Utgård is a co-founder and partner at ESCOIA, an international clean energy consulting and project development company.
- Mónica Araya is the founder and director of Costa Rica Limpia, a citizens’ organization dedicated to clean energy and transportation, and Nivela, an international think-tank focused on economic development and climate responsibility.