Chile launches electric taxi scheme

The Chilean government has launched a new program to promote electric mobility in taxi services. The ‘My Electric Taxi Program’ provides co-financing of up to $ 11,000 to owners of current gasoline-powered taxis to renew their vehicles for purely electric BYD taxis.

The Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications, Gloria Hutt, pointed out that: “our priority in terms of electromobility is public transportation and to promote the inclusion of vehicles such as taxis and buses. Initiatives like this, plus others that we boost from the Ministry of Transportation, are accelerating more sustainable fleets with significantly lower operational costs. Besides, the new vehicles have improvements in comfort for users, mainly due to smoother and quieter travels”.

In Chile, there are currently 1,769 electric vehicles, including buses, light vehicles, and trucks. BYD says that the 50 taxis will be the largest taxi fleet in the Latin American country. The Chinese electric vehicle giant says that the BYD e5 is currently the electric car with the longest range in the Chilean market, sporting a battery allows a 400km-range on a single charge. BYD says that the purchase of the 50 BYD e5 taxis will make it the largest electric taxi fleet in Chile.

In June last year, 150 BYD electric buses went into service in Santiago de Chile, bringing the total number of BYD electric buses in Chile to 455. The South American country has also made waves in electric mobility with the introduction of its electric bus corridor. Other electric bus suppliers in Chile include Yutong and ZEBRA.

This most recent Chilean initiative also includes the purchase and installation of home electric chargers. The Energy Sustainability Agency, who will also advise operators on their applications will also implement the new vehicles’ operation monitoring for one year.

Ignacio Santelices, Executive Director of the Agency, pointed out that  “an electric vehicle has cheaper maintenance than conventional vehicles. Therefore, it is economically and environmentally convenient.” He says that operating an electric taxi means savings about 70% compared to a gasoline vehicle.

Chile is especially well-positioned for decarbonising its transport sector since the country boasts one of the world’s largest lithium deposits. Earlier this month, SQM (Sociedad Química and Minera de Chile) entered into a long-term agreement to supply lithium products to LG Energy Solution, the recently independent battery division of LG Chem. The contract is expected to run through 2029.

However, BYD is itself a battery producer. The company backed by financier Warren Buffet was founded in 1995 as a battery producer, whereas the BYD Auto division responsible for electric buses and cars only began in 2003. In South America, the group has already opened a plant to build LiFePO4 battery modules for electric buses in Manaus in the Brazilian state of Amazonas as reported, which is primarily used to make batteries for buses.

Update 12 August 2021:

BYD has delivered the 50 electric cabs to Chile. An expansion of the program to other cities in Chile is already planned. The program will subsequently be rolled out to other Chilean cities, such as Valparaíso, Aysén and Los Ríos. The promotion is also to be expanded in the Santiago de Chile metropolitan region itself.

Source: information via email, also for update


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