Plug-in vehicle markets in South America, a brief overview – Part 2: Chile and Brazil

By Juan Diego Celemin Mojica

“Passionate about everything related to Latin America, I have closely followed energy and mobility transitions since they have been present south of the equator.

If you missed Part 1 of this series, check out: South American Plug-In Vehicle Markets, A Brief Overview – Part 1: Argentina, Peru and Ecuador.


Chile has a sizable car market for a country of its size, larger than Colombia and Argentina, although it has just over a third of the population of one or the other.

Chile offers some benefits to buyers of electric vehicles, including preferential depreciation rates for companies and cheaper transit permits. However, no information is available on additional discounts, tariff exemptions or preferential tax rates, even though the country has pledged to reach 100% electric vehicle sales in the light-duty market by 2035. If a Chilean reader wishes to provide additional information, it will be well received.

Electric vehicle numbers in Chile

In the first 6 months of 2022, Chile sold a total of 827 plug-in vehicles, of which 247 are PHEVs and 553 are BEVs. Although still small (just under 0.4% of total sales, which amounted to 222,453 vehicles in the first half), the country is nevertheless experiencing rapid growth and aims to cross the 0.5% mark for the pure BEVs before the end. of the year. It is worth mentioning that except for the purchase of 650 electric buses, the plugin market was almost non-existent in Chile before 2021.

Interestingly, unlike other countries in the region, Chile currently lacks a large presence of Chinese automakers (aside from the previously mentioned electric buses). Among the top 10 brands in the first half of 2022, only one is Chinese:

1 VOLVO 145
2 DS 140
3 BMW 111
4 MAXUS 87
seven MINI 28
8 AUDI 27
ten PORSCHE 14

Three European companies complete the podiums, with a Chinese (Maxus), a Japanese (Nissan) and a Korean (Hyundai) being the only non-European participants in the top 10.

Unfortunately, I could not find any information regarding sales figures for specific models. Some of them can be inferred (like all Nissans being LEAFs, all Porsches being Taycans, or all Hyundais being Ioniqs), and it’s worth noting that Maxus is a utility brand, primarily offering utility vehicles , including pickup trucks, light trucks, vans, and an SUV.

Charging infrastructure in Chile

Despite a relatively low number of sales, Chile is already preparing for the future and a significant number of charging stations – fast and slow – have been deployed, numbering 247 as of April 2022. The geography of the country, in a long north– south axis, facilitates the creation of electrified corridors. Enel – an Italian electricity and gas company that operates in many Latin American countries, including Chile – has pledged to build the continent’s most ambitious charging infrastructure project here: 1,200 stations connecting the country by 2024.

Latest Comments on Chile

There are a few things to mention about Chile. The country has been a pioneer in electric bus purchases, with the first 100 arriving in December 2018, another 183 in 2019 and up to 3,500 planned for subsequent years. At one point, this made it the country with the largest fleet of electric buses outside of China! However, Colombia has now adopted this position. So far, 1,022 more buses have been purchased from a Chinese automaker Photon and will arrive in the country in the coming months.

Also worth mentioning is a Chilean startup called Reborn electric motors aims to locally produce electric buses. They’ve already built the first ones and have a planned capacity of 200 buses a year – however, the batteries and motors (at least) are likely to come from abroad. Time will tell if Chile, located next to the so-called “lithium triangle”, will be able to eventually develop local production of cells and battery packs.


A giant by any measure, Brazil accounts for well over half of the entire South American automotive market, so it had to be in this ranking. Due to its massive size, the Brazilian market accounts for the largest number of BEVs sold of any country in the region. Although, proportionally, it’s still a small market. Brazil is also the largest automaker in South America, and at one point Tesla seemed to want to set up a gigafactory there, but today only one local producer specializes in electric vehicles: Electric hitch.

Number of electric vehicles in Brazil

So far in 2022, the Brazilian market has recorded 917,942 vehicle sales, of which 3,843 were BEVs (0.4%) and 19,764 were… hybrids, including both HEVs and PHEVs. This is one of the main problems with the Brazilian data: until 2021, it essentially classified all electrified cars as “electric”. This year, there are two categories: “electric” and “hybrid”… and good luck finding out how many cars are PHEVs and how many are HEVs. For this reason, I have not been able to make a graph showing monthly EV adoption, as I have done with other countries, and I will drop PHEVs and only talk about BEVs in this section.

In any case, BEV’s sales figures were negligible until around 2019 (one could say their market share still is), but since then they have grown at very high rates, the first six months of 2022 already exceeding the total sales of 2021. .

Similarly, Brazilian data apparently prioritizes model sales over brand sales, so here are the top 20 BEVs sold in Brazil:

1 VOLVO XC40 629
2 RENAULT Kangoo 393
3 VOLVO C40 370
4 JAC E-JS1 317
5 MINI Cooper 217
seven RENAULT Zoe 191
8 DECREE 500th 164
9 CITROEN Nervous 148
ten PORSCHE Taycan 147
11 JAC E-JS4 114
12 AUDI e-tron 105
13 PEUGEOT E-Expert 78
14 BMW i3 52
16 BMW iX 36
17 BYD ET3 23
18 YOU’RE HERE Models 18
18 YOU’RE HERE Y-model 18
19 JAC E-J7 17
20 JAC IEV 20 14

Unfortunately, no equivalent information could be found regarding PHEVs (which likely exceed BEV sales by some margin), so a more comprehensive top 10 could not be constructed.

Either way, the top 20 BEVs present a very interesting picture, with only two Chinese automakers (JAC and BYD) in attendance, three European models (two from Volvo) on the podium, and European companies everywhere. Only one non-European model enters the top 5, only two in the top 10.

It is important to mention that the JAC E-JS1 is the same JAC E10X sold in Colombia and Mexico. However, due to high tariffs and low to zero BEV exemptions, this car costs significantly more in Brazil than in either country, at BRL$159,900 or US$31,370 at rates. current exchange rates.

Honorable mention to the Renault Kwid E-Tech, a boosted version of the Dacia Spring which will arrive in Brazil in the coming months. According to available information, more than 700 cars are currently on their way to the country, and all of them have already been sold.

When it comes to charging infrastructure, there is no centralized information, but a quick search in Electromaps for charging stations over 50kW offers a bleak view, with most of the country having only an occasional shipper, except for a highly developed corridor from Florianópolis to Ciudad del Este and extending to Asunción in Paraguay.

Latest Comments on Brazil

Brazil need to up their game. Although they lead the region in absolute sales, the numbers are still well below what they could be and the infrastructure is lacking. Current BEV rates have increased very rapidly, but due to the high tariffs in the country, it’s hard to think that EVs can make a significant dent in the local market until a local automaker starts selling them. produce.

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