Quito test results that could affect future public bus purchases in Cuenca and other Andean cities show that electric buses have sufficient power to operate on mountain roads. Some bus company owners have argued that electric buses were under-powered for routes in hilly terrain.
The Quito tests were a prerequisite to the purchase of 300 electric buses to be incorporated into the city’s municipal fleet of 1,800. The city transportation office hopes for a complete conversion to an electric-powered fleet within 10 years.
Quito transportation office spokesman Ney Jiménez said that tests prove that electric buses can handle all routes currently covered by diesel-powered vehicles. “We tested the new buses on a variety of terrain, including that with steep grades, and they were up to the challenge,” he said. “There are few rural routes that cannot accommodate the articulated buses but this is unrelated to the fuel source.”
Cuenca’s transportation office is in discussions with owners of municipal buses and is setting target dates for conversion to an electric-powered fleet. Under a plan adopted in 2017 by the municipal council, all buses operating in the historic district must be electric by 2024.