Enel X, Metbus and BYD open Latin America’s first exclusive electric bus lane

Published on Tuesday, 15 October 2019

  • The integration of 183 new electric buses makes Greater Santiago the first city in Latin America to implement a sustainable electric route, with a total of 285 zero-emission public transport units.
  • Additionally, with the goal of improving users’ travel experience, the new electric route includes innovative infrastructure items, with a number of cutting-edge bus stops that offer services such as LED lighting, information panels, and USB chargers.


Santiago, October 15, 2019 – Enel X, Metbus, and BYD have opened Latin America’s first electric bus route, a comprehensive sustainable transport system that will feature 100% electric buses, making Chile the region’s leading country for electric transport.

The event, attended by President Sebastián Piñera and Transport Minister Gloria Hutt, opened with an electric bus ride along the route, which links the districts of Ñuñoa and Peñalolén, stopping to inspect some of the high-technology stops built by Enel X, as a way of experiencing the route as passengers will.

 The project includes the implementation of 40 bus stops, which offer users a range of new services such as LED lighting, bicycle parking, information panels, and USB charging ports.

 The ride ended at Peñalolén electric bus terminal, where the opening ceremony was held in the presence of guests such as President Sebastián Piñera, Transport Minister Gloria Hutt, Enel Chile chairman Herman Chadwick, Enel Chile CEO Paolo Pallotti, Enel X Chile CEO Karla Zapata, Metbus chairman Juan Pinto, and BYD country manager for Chile Tamara Berríos.

“Coordinated work by the government and the private sector has made it possible to incorporate 285 electric buses into the public transport system, positioning Chile as an electric transport trailblazer for Latin America. Today we are taking another step forward with the opening of the region’s first sustainable electric bus route, featuring only electric buses; this motivates us to carry on supporting the country’s transition to clean power, helping meet major challenges such as reducing pollution in our cities,” explained Paolo Pallotti, CEO of Enel Chile.

“At Enel X we don’t just promote electric transport, we also put technology to the service of people to improve their user experience. The opening of the smart bus stops and Latin America’s first fully electric route stands as proof of our company’s commitment to the future of transport, not only making it environmentally friendlier, but also enhancing quality of life in our cities,” stated Karla Zapata, CEO of Enel X Chile.

The electric buses made by Chinese manufacturer BYD that underpin the electric bus route currently operating in Greece and that are gradually being introduced in Santiago were acquired by Enel X and leased to Metbus.

“Metbus is making a major step forward in electric transport, with the first two electric buses introduced in Santiago during 2017 to 100 operating in 2018, and now 183 more: we now operate more electric buses than any other Latin American transport company, with five electric bus terminals in the city of Santiago providing the infrastructure necessary for all 285 buses to operate without problems, providing a quality service for our users,” explained Juan Pinto, chairman of Metbus.

“Currently, with 285 fully electric BYD buses in operation, Santiago has cut emissions by the equivalent of 9,400 conventional cars. We at BYD have good reason to take pride in having contributed our technology to help make the first electric bus route in the Americas. We look forward to continuing to build our dreams of a cleaner city with sustainable transport solutions,” said Tamara Berríos, BYD Chile country manager.

The new buses will benefit some 660,000 residents of nine districts: Maipú, Estación Central, Santiago, Ñuñoa, Peñalolén, Pudahuel, Cerro Navia, Quinta Normal, and Lo Prado. Since the new technology’s introduction it has received excellent evaluations, with users rating it 6.3 out of 7 in a satisfaction survey conducted by the Ministry of Transport.

Electric buses

The BYD electric buses have zero impact on pollutant emissions, and also provide a cheaper option in terms of operating costs, which are up to 70% lower than standard diesel-powered units. The new electric buses cost around 75 Chilean pesos per kilometer traveled, while traditional buses run at around 300 pesos per kilometer.

Another important advantage for users is the lower noise level, both within the bus and externally, making this a responsible option for transit through heavily populated areas.

Electric terminals

The electric buses that serve Greater Santiago are recharged at special terminals located in the districts of Peñalolén and Maipú. These electric terminals offer a higher standard of infrastructure, with modern and sustainable facilities that allow all electric buses to be charged, with charge time and power management systems that provide sufficient autonomy to allow the buses to operate throughout the working day.

Enel X is also building a further three electric terminals, sufficient to house the entire fleet of electric buses.

The new terminals have been built to feature electrical infrastructure that includes high, medium and low voltage power systems, as well as an on-site substation. This will allow reliable charging performance, keeping the bus charge stations online at all times.

High-quality bus stops

 With the goal of improving users’ travel experience, the new electric route includes innovative infrastructure items, with a number of cutting-edge bus stops that offer services such as LED lighting, information panels, USB chargers, and even bicycle parking areas.

The project includes the implementation of 40 of these special bus stops along the length of the Av. Grecia route. The new and fully featured bus stops offer an experience similar to that of an above-ground metro.