Women in Tech

IWD: Q&A with Esmerelda Martos

7th March 2022
Beatrice O'Flaherty

In the lead-up to International Women's Day, Esmeralda Martos has answered a few questions to offer her expertise as a global vehicle homologation expert at NIO. The premium EV brand launched in Europe in September 2021 and is set to expand its presence and EV sales into Germany, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands in 2022.  Here is a Q&A with Martos in which she discusses her role and gender adversity within the industry.

Can you tell us a little about what you do now, and how you got where you are?

I am a global vehicle homologation expert at NIO, supporting the Chinese homologation team through the European Type Approval process that’s required for cars to be sanctioned for sale within the market. NIO is beginning deployment of vehicles in Europe, starting in Norway this year with Germany to follow in 2022. I work with local governments to make registration possible, checking country-level regulation that might impact the process, as well as examining proposals for upcoming European directives or regulations to ensure we don’t miss any of the regulatory requirements. I have spent the last 11 years in homologation. Prior to that I was focused in pedestrian protection and passive safety, where I became familiar with worldwide passive safety regulations. It was a great way of understanding why regulations are needed. 

What first motivated you to get into this area of the automotive industry?

I’ve been working in the automotive industry now for 26 years. At that time, I joined IDIADA in the passive safety laboratory, which I thought it was very interesting. Getting to understand the different crashes, the dummies, the instrumentation – everything was so different and so hands-on that I was never bored. It was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve been part of in my career. 

What’s your best on-the-job memory?

It is difficult to pick only one stand-out memory from my career; I have many that come to my mind. These include: undertaking my first crash test; being involved in the development and construction of the pedestrian protection lab at IDIADA; delivering homologation consultancy in so many different countries, such as India, Malaysia, Japan and China; and being part of an awesome team in China, manufacturing high-end class vehicles. All of them have been important to take me where I am now. 

Next, I’m very much looking forward to seeing NIO vehicles on roads in Europe – being part of the team to bring a new brand to the market is very exciting. 

In general, I think having met and worked with so many talented and passionate people all these years is something I will always have in my memory. It’s brought lots of learnings from many people, all coming from different cultures. 

Do you think there is a diversity issue in your industry? Has it affected you in any way? 

I have never felt that being a woman has caused an issue or hindered my career. I have always received lots of support from my colleagues and bosses. No door has been closed due to my gender. It is true that, at the beginning of my career, I did not have many female co-workers and there were even fewer female technicians or mechanics, but luckily that has changed. I have seen a growing number of women in roles that in the past were considered typically ‘male’ roles. That is sending good and positive messages to everyone.

What advice would you share with other women wanting to start a career within your industry?

Do not think automotive is not for women – as long as you are passionate and love what you do, just go for it.

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