Is Brazil prepared to have an electric vehicle infrastructure?

100 Open Startups
2 min readFeb 20, 2024

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Historically, combustion car manufacturers have not invested in gas stations, thus raising the following question: should electric vehicle manufacturers take a different approach?

I recently had an intriguing conversation about the growing importance of electric vehicle charging networks and the role of automakers in this scenario. In Brazil, for example, car users face significant challenges, such as queues and chargers often out of operation. This situation is not exclusive to Brazil — it is a reality in several parts of the world.

At the same time, many blame the manufacturer BYD, which is currently the brand that sells the most electric cars in the country, for the lack of investment in the charging structure. Historically, combustion car manufacturers have not invested in gas stations, thus raising the following question: should electric vehicle manufacturers take a different approach?

When we look at the experience in the United States, the situation is not very different. Users of “non-Tesla” electric vehicles frequently encounter issues on the Electrify America — a leading “non-Tesla” electric vehicle (EV) fast charging company — network, such as queues and faulty equipment. This led to a radical shift in the market, in which several automakers decided to adapt their vehicles to use Tesla’s charging network, recognizing the network’s superior efficiency and reliability.

This is because Tesla, upon realizing that the adoption of electric vehicles depends heavily on a good experience — and seeing the lack of existing infrastructure — began investing in its “Superchargers” network, aimed at charging electric vehicles and aiming to give its customers customers greater security in purchasing the brand’s cars. Unlike other automakers, Tesla, as it exclusively produces electric vehicles, depended entirely on the charging network.

Now, for a traditional automaker, if the charging network is inadequate, the customer can simply opt for a gasoline vehicle. Thus, Tesla had a unique incentive to invest in an efficient charging network and, therefore, we have not seen this phenomenon repeat itself with other industries.

In Brazil, the situation of the automakers BYD and GWM is similar to that of Tesla in its beginnings. These companies depend on consumer adoption of electric vehicles, unlike other automakers that have greater diversity in their portfolios. Currently, it appears that they are relying on their existing charging infrastructure, but they may soon realize that this will not be enough to keep up with their growth objectives.

he central question is: should automakers invest in charging networks? Tesla’s experience suggests so, especially for companies whose focus is exclusively on electric vehicles. For these companies, investing in charging networks is not only an improvement in customer service, but also an essential strategy to ensure their viability and success in the market.

By- Rafael Levy , Co-founder of 100 Open Startups and Director of the Open Innovation Brazil Center

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