Firm on its intent to boost sustainable development in South America and slash its carbon footprint, Uruguay takes a step further in its electrified public transportation platform in the capital, Montevideo. Following the launch of a pure electric taxi fleet – produced by green tech giant BYD Company Ltd. – in the second half of 2015; on May 5, 2016, a launch ceremony organized by the Presidential Office and the Ministries of Energy and Transport was held to announce the launch of the city’s first vehicle of its BYD pure electric bus fleet.
Attending the ceremony were the President of Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez, the Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining Carolina Cosse, and the Mayor of Montevideo Daniel Martinez; along with the President of UTE (Uruguay’s National Administration of Power Plants and Electrical Transmissions) Gonzalo Casaravilla, and the President of CUTCSA (the largest bus operator in Uruguay) Juan A. Salgado. The Chairman and President of BYD Co., Ltd., Mr. Chuanfu Wang, President of BYD Motors Inc., Ms. Stella Li, and Vice-President of BYD America, Mr. Fred Ni, made the formal delivery of the vehicle. Prior to the official ceremony, the President, Ministers and dignitaries went on a ride along the streets of the capital aboard the BYD K9 electric bus to try its quality, performance and comfort. (Click https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpAroEgXmjg to watch the video )
After the successful launch of a BYD pure electric taxi fleet in Montevideo in August last year, the Administration moved forward with its bold transport electrification initiatives, now going for mass transportation with the addition of transit buses to the mix. This is the first pure electric bus to officially operate in the country, after a successful trial period starting in 2013, whose debut had also had the attendance of the Country’s President at the time, the acclaimed José Alberto Mujica. The vehicle launched at the ceremony was purchased by CTS – BYD’s local distributor – and leased to CUTCSA (Uruguay’s largest collective transportation company), which will run the operation in the capital for five years, and depending on the vehicle’s performance, another 20 to 30 units will be ordered within the next 6 months. Additionally to the obvious environmental benefits of zero emission vehicles, passengers and will enjoy increased comfort on a silent ride, and operators will benefit from substantial cuts in fuel and maintenance costs. The BYD K9 is a 12-meter urban transit bus with a driving range of 250km on a single charge, more than enough to cover any of Montevideo’s inner city routes. Charging takes place during the night – at off-peak hours – when costs and demand on the power grid are lower.
Uruguay’s move towards transport electrification is a natural result of its bold policies to switch from fossil fuels to renewable energy. In less than 10 years the country has managed to nearly become carbon neutral: according to Ramón Méndez – the country’s head of climate change policy – renewables now provide nearly 95% of the country’s electricity. The choice of BYD to supply electrified transportation solutions to integrate such breakthrough lies in the company’s technological advancement, expertise, market maturity and the presence of its zero emission transportation solutions running in over 200 urban centers worldwide.
BYD Company Ltd. is one of China’s largest companies and has successfully expanded globally. Specializing in battery technologies, their green mission to “solve the whole problem” has made them industry pioneers and leaders in several High-tech sectors including High-efficiency Automobiles, Electrified Public Transportation, Environmentally-Friendly Energy Storage, Affordable Solar Power and Information Technology and Original Design Manufacturing (ODM) services.