BYD Electric Buses Rolling in Santiago, Chile

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

The first two BYD 100% electric buses are operating in Santiago, Chile. With the debut of the buses, Santiago moves forward as one of the pioneers in the field of electromobility in Latin America, consolidating the new requirements included in Transantiago’s bidding basis.

The electric buses will be operated permanently by Metbus on route 516 and their routes will include the most important arteries of 8 districts of the city. According to the information available, the operational costs will be reduced by 70% compared to conventional diesel buses, reaching a value of 70 Chilean pesos per kilometer, against 300 Chilean pesos for diesel. The full charge of the vehicle has a cost of 19,500 Chilean pesos. BYD’s new energy vehicle footprint currently covers over 200 cities in 50 countries and regions.

Secretary of State, Paola Tapia, stated that “Electromobility is not the future; it is the present we are living today in the capital’s transportation system. We are moving forward in providing quality for users by incorporating the electric buses today, fulfilling the commitment to offer more comfort, greater service efficiency and care for the environment. In 2018 we will have another 90 of these buses circulating; making us electrified public transportation pioneers in Latin America. Our embrace of this technology prioritizes passengers, which forms the basis of the bidding process.” Additionally, Paola said that this strategy highlights the importance of electric vehicles, for their significant contribution to the reduction of pollutants and noise levels in areas of high exposure.”

The Minister of Environment, Jorge Canals, said that “the metropolitan region suffers increased pollution problems during winter, largely by emissions from mobile sources. Therefore, the incorporation of these electric buses comes as a cleaner alternative in urban transport. It is important to emphasize that a vehicle during traffic congestion contaminates 4 times more than one circulating normally.”

The Minister of Energy, Andrés Rebolledo, explained that “the entry of these first two electric buses are great news for a country like Chile, since the transport sector represents one third of the energy consumption, and it imports practically all the fuel used for transportation.”

The General Manager of E-Solutions of Enel Chile, Simone Tripepi, commented that “at Enel we want to be part of the solution of important issues such as the decontamination of cities. Therefore, we have strongly promoted electric mobility in Chile, based on clean energy and lower prices as compared to other fuels. We have the capacity to provide the necessary electrical infrastructure to facilitate the dissemination of electrified public transportation in Santiago and regions.”

Tamara Berríos, BYD’s Country Manager in Chile explained that “One single electric bus prevents the equivalent to the emissions and pollution from 33 gasoline vehicles. So far, BYD has supplied 27 thousand pure electric buses to over 200 cities worldwide, so we are confident that our experience and maturity in this sector will ensure we can successfully deliver a high quality service that will set a new standard of comfort for users and city dwellers in Chile.”

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 is now worth roughly $1.8 billion.

For More on BYD, read the Special Report: BYD, Berkshire’s Tesla.

© 2017 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.