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Uruguay’s Public Transport Goes Electric

25 March 2014 | IPS News

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Uruguay plans to gradually replace oil-based fuels with electric energy in its public transport system, and is currently assessing the costs and benefits of the shift.

Tests indicate that the running costs of electric buses can be six- to eight-fold lower than for diesel buses.

For the last two years, studies have been under way on the potential benefits of adding electric vehicles to the public transport fleet in Montevideo, where half the country’s 3.3 million people live.

In late 2013, performance and range trials were carried out on an E6 model car and a K9 model bus made by the Chinese company BYD. The results were presented on Mar. 13.

The economic analysis of the performance of the electric vehicles, carried out by the city government, was positive. But mechanisms must be designed to face the initial investment and redefine the scope of subsidies and taxes.

The overall economic advantage of an electric bus over one running on diesel is 1.7 to one, according to this study, which took into account costs of purchase, maintenance and operation of different types of vehicles under the present subsidies and taxes.


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