The BYD e5 electric vehicles are seen at the launch of a plan to encourage transition from fossil-fuel taxis to electric-powered ones, in Santiago, Chile, Jan. 19, 2021. (Chile's Ministry of Energy and Mining/Handout via Xinhua)
The Chilean government on Tuesday unveiled a plan to encourage transition from fossil-fuel taxis to electric-powered ones, with the participation of Chinese company BYD.
"Today, taxi drivers face major hurdles in accessing electric vehicles, mainly it comes down to the initial investment, familiarity with the technology and charging," Chile's Minister of Energy and Mining Juan Carlos Jobet said during the plan's launch.
The program will offer subsidies to transition from conventional to electric taxis, as well as sell and install residential electric chargers, and provide a one-year follow-up of the electric vehicles.
According to the ministry, electric vehicle makers were invited to participate in the selection process to elect the single supplier for the program and China's BYD was the winner.
The electric vehicle to be offered in the program is the BYD e5, the most autonomous electric vehicle currently available on the Chilean market, according to a statement from the company.
Its battery provides up to 400 km of travel on a single charge, and charging takes between 1.5 and 2 hours. In addition, the BYD e5 has regenerative brake technology, which allows it to recover battery life during braking and deceleration.
Tamara Barrios, manager of BYD Chile, said the company hopes that the plan "will show drivers that in addition to being sustainable, these vehicles generate great savings in operation and maintenance."
Chile's transportation sector accounts for 36 percent of the country's energy consumption, with costly imported fossil fuels that pollute the environment, according to data from the Ministry of Energy.