March 13 (UPI) — Chinese electric bus maker BYD delivered a fleet that started rolling this week in Ecuador’s second biggest city of Guayaquil, and it may soon send another to the capital Quito, as the vehicle maker adds another country to its fast regional expansion for electric vehicles.
On Tuesday, a fleet of 20 all electric buses, which charge a 35-cent fare per passenger, started to cover a route connecting north and central Guayaquil, making it the second Latin American city with this type of service already in place, El Universo newspaper reported.
Mayor Jaime Nebot said the city will soon move with promoting electric taxis.
According to Bus World, BYD in December delivered 100 electric buses to Santiago, and in January announced it won a bid for 64 electric buses for the city of Medellin, in Colombia. The buses, with 80-passenger capacity, will arrive in the second half of this year.
According to BYD, tests showed a BYD K11 electric articulated bus that Medellin bought in 2017 results in lower refueling and maintenance costs compared with diesel vehicles.
There are other Latin American cities that plan to add electric buses to their mass transportation services, including Buenos Aires, San Jose, Costa Rica and Panama City.
A Deutsche Welle report, said that Cali, Colombia, will add electric buses that have “regenerative” brakes that help to recharge batteries while breaking.
A pilot project in Costa Rica is also planned to include three electric buses running between cities, and a one-year pilot program in Argentina will put eight electric buses on the road.
China is one of the world leaders in the use of electric buses. A 2018 study estimated there are 385,000 electric buses in use around the world, with roughly 99 percent of them in China. In the United States, there are about 1,600 buses running on electricity.
Electric buses have hit some problems in the U.S., like the decision of operators of the Albuquerque Rapid Transit project to return 15 units to BYD after drivers reported issues and the city filed a lawsuit.
BYD announced in January it has produced 50,000 electric buses, just nine years after production started. The unit was a 12-meter pure electric bus for Spain. BYD says it is the only company that has successfully entered the Spanish electric bus market.
BYD is a vehicle manufacturer in the Shaanxi province in north central China. It makes autos, buses, electric bicycles, trucks, forklifts and rechargeable batteries.