Latin America's first electric bus corridor opens up Chile
As a massive metropolis with more than five million residents packed inside a topographical bowl, the Chilean capital of Santiago has some serious air pollution to contend with. With an eye on clearer skies, the government has now opened what is billed as the first electric bus corridor in Latin America, which will replace one of the main routes in the city's transport network.
The majority of the electric buses making up Chile's electric fleet have been supplied by Chinese EV maker BYD. The company has its fingerprints on zero-emissions buses all around the world, including iconic double-decker buses in London, an all-electric fleet at Amsterdam airport and a route in Washington where the bus stays topped up via a wireless charging platform.
Beyond that, it is also the producer of the world's longest electric bus, which can carry 250 passengers, and also manages to make almost half of the electric vehicles sold in China each year.
Its contribution to Chile's public transport system amounts to 285 new all-electric buses, making up around three quarters of its 386-strong fleet. That, according to BYD, is the largest fleet of pure electric buses in the world outside of China.
These BYD buses are said to be around 70 percent cheaper to operate than Santiago's many pollution-heavy diesel-powered buses. The onboard batteries offer around 250 km (155 mph) of range and can be fully charged in around five hours. Other features include onboard Wi-Fi, low flooring and USB chargers.
The buses are recharged at two dedicated terminals in Santiago and will now start servicing the electric bus corridor, connecting nine neighborhoods through Santiago's center and offering access to some 660,000 people. Forty new bus stops will dot the route and will be equipped with information displays, LED lights, USB chargers and bike parking.
“The current 285 BYD pure electric buses operating in Santiago are reducing emissions equivalent to more than 9,400 conventional cars,” said Tamara Berríos, Country Manager of BYD Chile. “BYD is proud to contribute its technology towards the first 100 percent electric bus corridor in Latin America. We hope to continue building our dreams of a cleaner city with our sustainable transport solutions.”