Two new electric passenger vehicles begin to operate in the department of Canelones, thus underlining the national interest in promoting sustainable mobility throughout the country.
These two units were incorporated by the Compañía de Ómnibus del Este (CodelEste), which carries out its routes in Las Piedras, within the framework of the subsidy for electric buses, promoted by the National Government. The CodelEste company, with a long history in Canelones, had previously acquired a unit as a trial and due to its excellent results decided to incorporate these two new vehicles with the subsidy, while it is already studying new additions.
Now there are 32 subsidized electric passenger buses that circulate in the country. The first 30 began operating in the capital during May 2020, acquired by the four Public Transport Operators (OTP) of Montevideo.
The objective of the subsidy, approved by law in Parliament almost unanimously, is to promote the incorporation of 120 electric buses by all OTPs in the country, covering the price difference between a diesel bus and an electric bus of similar dimensions.
In a country where electricity generation is almost 100% clean and renewable, where transport is responsible for 65% of total CO2 emissions from the energy sector, it seems essential to continue promoting this tool.
The interesting thing about the subsidy is that it does not increase State expenses: from the financial point of view, the total subsidy for diesel fuel that a conventional bus receives during its useful life is equivalent to the price difference covered by the subsidy for the purchase of a electric bus; therefore, resources are redirected with greater benefits and the use of renewable and clean energy produced in Uruguay.
This transformation not only implies a change in motorization, this has been an opportunity to take a leap in quality: the requirements of the Technical Commission to access this subsidy require that the buses must have a low floor with universal accessibility, air conditioning to optimize the comfort during the trip, an information screen for those who travel and security cameras to improve coexistence within the units, with a clear focus on the gender perspective.
This instrument, which encourages the replacement of diesel to electric buses throughout the country, is implemented by the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining (MIEM), the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, the Ministry of Housing and Territorial Planning (MVOT) and the Ministry of the Environment (MA), with technical support from the MOVÉS project.
MOVÉS is a project financed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), its implementing agency is the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and is executed by MIEM, MVOT and MA , with the collaboration of the Uruguayan Agency for International Cooperation (AUCI). Its objective is to promote more efficient and sustainable mobility. Within its actions it promotes improvements in public passenger transport and therefore support for this instrument that seeks electrification and improvements in benefits.