MONTEVIDEO – The government of Uruguay on Thursday presented an electric bus that will be incorporated into the capital’s public transportation system under a pilot program as the country looks toward the replacement of its diesel-fueled units.
The Chinese-made vehicle, with a unit cost of roughly $420,000, will enter service in Montevideo next Monday for a trial period of at least two years.
Prior to the press conference, President Tabare Vazquez and Energy Minister Carolina Cosse boarded the bus for a brief spin around Independence Square in Montevideo.
Cosse offered an estimate of $750 million for what it would cost Uruguay to replace diesel-fueled buses with electric vehicles over the next decade.
She added, however, that the per-kilometer operating cost of electric buses is one-eighth that of vehicles powered by fossil fuels.
Transportation now accounts for more than 10 percent of carbon dioxide emissions in Uruguay, the minister said.
Replacing the bus fleet with electric vehicles would also reduce noise pollution in urban environments, Cosse said.
Currently, 40 percent of the energy consumed in Uruguay comes from biomass, 13 percent from hydroelectric plants, 3.4 percent from wind, 0.1 percent from solar, and 42.5 percent from oil and its derivatives.