Chinese battery and vehicle maker BYD has delivered 100 new BYD electric buses to the port of San Antonio.
Three Chilean Ministers (Transportation, Energy and Environment) welcomed the buses, together with representatives of BYD, Enel and Metbus.
The buses, BYD K9FE, were shipped from the port of Shanghai on July 1, and landed on Wednesday, beginning the overland journey from San Antonio to the Chilean capital Santiago, where they will be integrated into the fleet that operates on the Avenida Grecia, the only completely electrified bus line in all of the Americas, and one that benefits more than 660 thousand people weekly.
Following the arrival of this batch of electric buses, another 83 units will be added in mid-August. These 183 units of BYD pure electric buses will join the 100 electric buses that BYD and local partner Enel brought into Santiago last December, which gave BYD a dominant share of more than 60% in the capital’s promising electric bus market, and created the largest pure electric bus fleet in Latin America.
Minister Hutt pointed out that “the arrival of this new fleet of electric buses demonstrates once again that the qualitative leap in public transport will not change, as well as our commitment to continue raising the quality of people’s travel experience and, of course, their quality of life. It is a profound and radical transformation, which is embodied in the next tenders that we are promoting”.
With the arrival of the new electric buses, about 6% of the capital’s fleet is now electrified and emissions-free. These 12-meter vehicles, like those already operating in Santiago, have Wi-Fi, USB ports, universal accessibility for people with reduced mobility, cameras and a segregated cab for driver safety, as well as padded seats and low floors.
They will be integrated during the last quarter into the existing Metbus fleet to operate the lines 506, 507 and 510, along the popular Avenida Grecia route. Metbus is also the largest pure electric bus fleet operator in all of the Americas.
“The arrival of these 100 new electric buses sees Metbus set a benchmark for electromobility in Santiago’s public transport, which makes us very proud, because we were able to incorporate this new technology in the country”, said Juan Pinto, president of Metbus. “We also opened the doors of the market so that many other bus operators are excited to bring electric buses here and several bus factories want to open in Chile to compete with these new products”.
The 183 electric buses will be powered by Enel X, which will also provide the necessary charging infrastructure by building three new charging stations in Santiago. “This new milestone for electric public transportation is framed in the context of the energy transition that Enel is leading. Our actions seek to support Chile’s transition to an ever-cleaner energy system and contribute to solving challenges as important as reducing pollution in our cities”, said Paolo Pallotti, general manager of Enel Chile.
“With this new fleet we started a consolidation process in the market and we continue to lead electric vehicle sales in Chile. All this would not be possible without our client Metbus, and also with the support of Enel X we have made possible a completely innovative financing structure,” said Tamara Berríos, Country Manager of BYD Chile. “In 2019, Chile will have the first fully electric bus route on the continent, 100% non-polluting and noise-free. The government has set Chile as a role model for the entire region and we will continue to support these electromobility initiatives”.
At present, BYD pure electric buses are successfully servicing markets in many countries across Latin America, including Chile, Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, and Uruguay. Globally, BYD’s pure electric buses, taxi, and other vehicles have spread to over 300 cities, in more than 50 countries and regions.
BYD and Berkshire Hathaway
In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $230 million has grown in value almost ten-fold, and is now worth roughly $1.96 billion.
For More on BYD, read the Special Report: BYD, Berkshire’s Tesla.
© 2019 David Mazor
Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.