SANTIAGO - Chile looks forward to the scheduled delivery next year of 15 electric buses manufactured with Chinese technology, said a senior Chilean official.
"We will be the country with the largest fleet of electric buses in South America and we will be almost on a par with those countries that have incorporated this technology," Transport minister Paola Tapia said in an interview with a local radio station.
The units will be the first of 90 Chinese-made electric buses being incorporated to modernize the public transit fleet operating in capital Santiago.
Made by Chinese automobile manufacturer BYD, the 81-passenger buses feature cushioned seats, air conditioning, Wi-Fi, charging outlets for mobiles and a secure separate cabin for drivers.
Transit authorities expect the new units to cut operating costs by some 70 percent, with electric buses consuming some 70 pesos (10 U.S. cents) per km to run, compared to 300 pesos (49 US cents) per km for conventional diesel vehicles.
The bus units can be fully charged in just two to three hours, allowing the buses to cover various routes throughout the day, Tapia said.