The ZEBRA (Zero Emission Bus Rapid-deployment Accelerator) project, led by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) and C40 Cities, is dedicated to accelerating the rollout of electric buses in Latin America. Phase one focuses on four cities.
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The initial focus of the project is on the major cities of Medellin, Mexico City, São Paulo and Santiago de Chile. Zebra partners estimate that approximately 25,000 new buses will be purchased in these cities over the next decade, and has begun lobbying to make sure that they will be electric.
ZEBRA has been around since 2018 operates on a cooperative basis. The project assures followers that they will “secure a public commitment from regional financial institutions to invest 1 billion USD in zero-emission electric drive technology in Latin America by 2021,” which will also be used to research financing and business model applications in Latin America.
On a more general note, the initiative claims they will “gain commitments from major bus and engine manufacturers to support the growth of electric buses in Latin America through collaboration with cities on vehicle specifications, charging strategies, pilot projects, financing and other steps necessary for the fleet-wide deployment of zero-emission buses”. The first operational step will be to establish working groups for each of the previously mentioned cities, with the other phases presumably broadening the list to include more cities and countries in Latin America. The different groups and partners are also already planned to exchange information and share knowledge of their research and rollout projects.
Update 17 May 2020: The ZEBRA project has teamed up with the Laboratório de Mobilidade Sustentável (LABMOB) to launch a new platform called E-Bus Radar. It is designed to count electric buses in the region.
As of April 2020, there were a total of 1,229 electric buses in operation in 27 Latin American cities, 413 of them in Santiago de Chile. The number translates to 1.27% of the total bus fleet in the considered cities and includes trolleybuses. The partners intend to update the count every six months.
Additional reporting by Nora Manthey.
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