SANTIAGO – Chile’s Transport Minister Paola Tapia on Tuesday greeted the incorporation of the first batch of Chinese-made electric buses into the capital’s public transit fleet.
“We are advancing in quality for commuters by incorporating electric buses starting now, fulfilling our commitment to greater comfort and greater efficiency in the service and to caring for the environment,” said the minister.
Manufactured by China’s BYD corporation, the two 81-passenger buses are equipped with cushioned seats, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, charging outlets for mobile devices and a secure separate cabin for drivers.
Authorities in Chile said they expect the new units to cut operating costs by some 70 percent, with electric buses consuming around 70 pesos (around 0.11 U.S. dollars) per km to run, compared to 300 pesos (around 0.47 U.S. dollars) for conventional diesel vehicles.
“In 2018, we will have 90 of these buses in circulation and we will be pioneers in Latin America in electric mobility for public transit,” Tapia was quoted by the Xinhua news agency as saying.
The new buses can be charged in just two to three hours, allowing the buses to take various routes throughout the day covering some 250 km, Tapia said.
Chilean Energy Minister Andres Rebolledo also welcomed the new members of the capital’s transportation system.
“These first two electric buses are great news for a country like Chile, since the transport sector accounts for a third of the energy consumption,” he noted.