It may come as a surprise to many people to learn that the largest EV taxi service in South America is situated in Bogota, Colombia. While the likes of Europe, the Far East and, to a greater extent the U.S. dominate the EV industry, it seems as though the principles behind electric vehicle travel have transferred to South America with little trouble.
The vehicles in question are part of an array of EVs manufactured by BYD and the 45 BYD e6 EVs now ferrying people across Bogota certainly seem to have caught the headlines. There are many reasons why this particular project is catching the eye of not only businesses but also politicians and consumers across the region.
While there is some confusion and discussion as to what actual savings electric vehicles have over their gasoline counterparts, when you take into account the way in which the electricity is produced, there is a general consensus that EVs are more environmentally friendly. To what extent emissions can impact everyday life is perfectly illustrated by the estimated economic loss in Colombia caused by air pollution which is put at around 570 million pesos per annum. This is an enormous loss attributed to various aspects of air pollution and something which will certainly have caught the eye of businesses.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "Despite the fact that many Hong Kong taxi drivers are set against the introduction of electric taxis it seems that the authorities are determined to push this through at some point. In a city which has over 500,000 vehicles it is claimed that just 310 are pure electric vehicles. This is obviously a dismal percentage of the overall traffic in the city although when you bear in mind there are 18,000 taxis perhaps this move by the authorities could set the wheels in motion for a significant take-up of electric vehicles in due course?"
The authorities in Colombia also estimate that up to 5,000 deaths per annum may be directly or indirectly attributed to air pollution therefore not only is there an economic saving but there is also potential for improved health across the region.
Is this a policy change?
As we touched on above, while the likes of North America, Europe and the Far East tend to grab the headlines with regards to EV travel and EV technology, it seems to have travelled seamlessly to South America. When you bear in mind the ongoing economic strength of South America in light of the worldwide economic downturn, the introduction of electric vehicles into not only the workplace but also the consumer market could certainly have a big impact going forward.
We have seen over many decades that developing nations do tend to increase their carbon emissions as energy efficiencies can take many years to come into play. While it would be foolish to suggest that EVs are the be all and end all of air pollution in countries such as Colombia, they will no doubt have a major positive effect going forward. There is also the ability to attract EV manufacturers to South America from what is a growing business in Europe and North America and has the potential, in the long term, to supersede traditional gasoline and diesel powered travel.
While the introduction of 45 BYD electric powered taxis has certainly caught the headlines across South America, it is perhaps fair to say that increased consumer confidence and more EVs in the business arena will assist most in the longer term. Governments are embracing this new form of travel, consumers are certainly more welcoming than they have been, and the everyday sight of electric powered taxis passing you by can only help the movement.