Eight cities in Latin America will replace 40,000 buses with clean vehicles by 2020. The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The announcement was made in Buenos Aires, Argentina, during the first Latin American mayors’ forum held hosted by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group.
The cities participating in the initiative are Curitiba, Rio de Janeiro and Salvador in Brazil; Bogotá in Colombia; Quito in Ecuador; Caracas in Venezuela; Buenos Aires and Mexico City.
By 2020, it is expected that 35 % from the total public transport fleet (around 115,000 vehicles), will stop using diesel fuel. This would cut 435,000 tones of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
Carbon dioxide accounts for about 60 per cent of GHG emissions in Latin America and 30 per cent of emissions come from transport.
C40 Cities also disclosed the results of a test program done in April 2013 that measured the performance of 17 hybrid and electric buses in the cities of Bogota, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Santiago in Chile. The technology -which combines diesel and electricity- recorded 26 % lower carbon dioxide emissions than those vehicles using diesel.
According to Mauricio Osses, engineering consultant at the International Research Center on Sustainability, Bogotá now has 260 hybrid buses. In Lima, Peru, the new Metropolitano public transport system is powered with natural gas.
Nicolás Estupiñan, transport specialist at the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), said that the Lima network is the most advanced system when it comes to deploying a clean fleet.
In Mexico, CAF is supporting a program to convert 20,000 of the 30,000 buses currently using diesel to clean vehicles.
Also, in Campinas, Brazil, Chinese automaker BYD is constructing a manufacturing plant that will produce around 1,000 electric buses every year.
Another project in Argentina aims to develop hydrogen as a fuel. The project is linking all the hydrogen research institutions across the country to develop technology that can be used for vehicles and fixed installations.
According to Luis Gutiérrez, secretary-general of the Latin American Association of Integrated Transport Systems and Bus Rapid Transit, Latin America is committed to the deployment of buses which run on electricity and natural gas, and hybrids.