Emilio Sosa Solis, cofounder of Vetelia—an alternative mobility company based in Mexico—invented Mexico’s first electric race car in the state of Guanajuato. While his classmates at Universidad Iberoamericana de León dreamt of graduating with engineering degrees to work for big name companies like General Motors, Solis obsessed over a different vision: to stay in his home country and drastically change how communities relate to transportation.
In a country where transportation does not come cheap and CO2 emissions are constantly increasing, alternative mobility seeks to radically change the infrastructure and economy of Mexico by lessening traffic, creating employment and encouraging healthy living through the use of a bike.
His background in mechanical engineering and passion for innovation led him to vehemently race towards solutions in alternative mobility. Recognized by the National Auto Parts Industry for his expertise, he now runs the technological research, design and development for Mexico’s newest electric vehicle—the Hybridus.
“Is it a bike or a motorcycle? It’s whatever you want,” says Solis. With its 1500 Watts of power, three inboard computers and its patented suspension system you can own any road. “It’s a flexible electric bike. It can operate at different speeds, in different lanes, streets, paths—you can ride it in every place.”
The user benefits from the power, energy and time savings of an electric motorcycle and the less strict requirements for verification of a bicycle. Vetelia Electric Bikes differs from competitors by supplying their high performance models to law enforcement institutions in the state of Guanajuato, as a means for cost and energy efficiency.
It’s a flexible electric bike. It can operate at different speeds, in different lanes, streets, paths—you can ride it in every place. Tweet This Quote
“Eighty percent of the work of the police is to patrol the city,” says Solis. In a huge V8 vehicle with the additional cost of fuel this can become exorbitantly high. “Our bikes cost roughly 3,700 USD. Since its launch in January, Vetelia has placed an initial amount of 18 units in five municipalities in the state of Guanajuato, reducing one ton of CO2 per 29,000 km.”
The company plans to build a total of 800 bikes for the police sector within a year. Each bike is solar powered—they envision adding solar charging stations through the municipality. Solis says the response from the police force has been overwhelmingly positive and wants to expand to the delivery industry next.
“In Mexico, we have a problem,” Solis explains. “We are afraid of change—if I use a car everyday, someone thinks, why would I use a bike? People think you are important if you have a car, not if you are riding a bike.”
“[In Guanajuato] we have the most expensive transportation in the entire country. A lot of people spend two-thirds of their money just getting to their job,” says Solis. For this reason, an attitude exists around owning a car because of the potential of being received as important.
Solis says he thinks this will shift as the vehicles become ubiquitous. But current limitations present some practical problems: battery manufacturing is outsourced to the US and expensive. They plan to create a production line for this part to save on costs and to create more employment; specifically, in marginalized neighborhoods in Leon Guanajuato. With the additional manufacturing facilities, not only can Vetelia more efficiently produce larger quantities to meet the goal of expanding within the police force and to the delivery sectors, but invaluable jobs will be created. According to the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, Mexico’s unemployment rate is currently at 4.8 percent.
“We are putting our company in areas to generate employees—it improves not only the education in the area, but also puts jobs in the sector.”
3,700 USD and the goal is to have them drop to 500USD in 5 years.
Over the next year, Vetelia will continue to generate jobs and impact traffic problems by producing 100 more units. Over the next five years, they are planning on dropping the price down to 500 USD. While the impact to transportation infrastructure is revolutionary, so is the individual impact of improving physical and mental health of each user by encouraging people to move around in healthy ways.