Beginning in January 2025, all new city and provincial buses in Ecuador will be electric. Ecuador’s new Energy Efficiency Law mandates that no new diesel models can be purchased after that date although older buses will continue to operate until they are replaced.
The intention of the new law is two-fold, according to the National Transit Agency (ANT). “First, it will reduce the levels of pollution in our urban areas and second, it will allow us to take advantage of the excess electric power that is coming on line,” says Veronica Lopez, ANT spokeswoman.
Lopez added that operation of diesel buses is currently the top producer of pollution in the country’s largest cities.
During the last decade, Ecuador has built eight new hydroelectric plants, six of which are already on line. “By 2025, the other two plants will be operational and Ecuador will produce 50 percent more energy than it needs for domestic and commercial use,” Lopez says.
Ecuador is currently selling excess electricity to Colombia and Peru.
“In addition to buses we will encourage the transition of all vehicles, private and commercial, from petroleum-based fuels to electric,” she added. “We will have the electric capacity and believe we should make use of it. We are following guidelines established by the European Union for this transition.”
According to the ANT, 26 251 diesel-powered buses currently operate in the country, most of them with less than 15 years of life expectancy remaining.
Several cities have enacted local ordinances to reduce the number of diesel buses on the streets and the introduction of electric public transportation rail systems in Quito and Cuenca will further reduce the use of diesel.
Last year, the Cuenca municipal council voted to eliminate diesel-powered buses in its historic district by 2022, replacing them with electric models.