“This new machine seems good”, commented passengers at the end of 2017, when the two electric buses began circulating along the 516 route, uniting the main arteries of Maipu, Pudahuel, Lo Prado, Estacion Central, Santiago, Ñuñoa, Peñalolen and Providencia. The difference was meaningful: cushioned seating, air conditioning, smartphone chargers, almost zero noise and – the most important – zero pollution.
Eight months after their start-up, the initiative has been rated as a success by the users themselves, who, in a survey carried out by the Ministry of Transportation graded the electric buses an average of 6.3. Now comes the second step. In October, 2018, the alliance between Enel X, Enel Distribucion and the Chinese company BYD shall bring 100 new buses in order to incorporate them to the public transportation network of the capital city. It shall be a milestone at a planetary level, because Chile will transform itself into the second country with the largest number of electric buses after China. These machines – same as those of the 516 route currently – shall be operated by Metbus and will enable the implementation in avenida Grecia of the first Electrocorridor in Latin America.
It is a great challenge: the e-buses shall climb slopes, shall tour more than 200 kilometers every day and each will transport close to 1,000 persons daily. And the advantages also are immense: the operational costs shall be 70% lower – only in fuel they will be dropping CLP350 per kilometer, to CLP70 – and will prevent the emission of CO2 equivalent to 33 cars per bus. Santiago progresses rapidly towards a zero pollution public transportation.