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Quito road tests show electric buses have plenty of power to climb hills

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.

Electric buses on display in Quito last year.

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.

13 thoughts on “Quito road tests show electric buses have plenty of power to climb hills

    1. 2 separate issues – they are both essential to benefits in the future to a vital pedestrian urban center clear of car congestion, noise and air pollution and reclaiming a more peaceful enjoyment of life…. away from the disproportionate scales in conflict of vehicles to human….,

  1. Cuenca had an opportunity to do the smart thing and develop a comprehensive mass transit system using electric buses seven years ago. Unfortunately, the soon to be “Prague of the Andes” needed a more sophisticated tourist gimmick to pull it into the international spotlight. Didn’t matter that air service and air quality were still going to suck and the red & blue “smokers” would still be prowling the streets. Yep! We gonna be “european uptown” right here in EC’s outback.

      1. If you don’t know Spanish, then know-it-all gringos are probably your main source for news and opinions. If you do know Spanish, ask the average Cuencano what they think of the tranvia.

        1. But don’t ask what they think of the tram today. Ask them in 5 or 10 years when they’ve seen the system in action. When I lived in France, virtually every one in Bordeaux hated the tram (which, incidentally, is the same system as Cuenca’s) when it was under construction. It was way behind schedule, way over budget and considered a swindle of taxpayers. Today, the tram is seen as a great success and you would be hard-pressed to find a Bordelais who would criticize it. My point? Any opinion today, whether Cuencano or gringo, is pretty much worthless.

          1. Man, that’s too funny. I was in Bordeaux last month and the tram is screamingly popular. Fantastic! Clean, quiet, efficient, fast, safe, EVERYONE was riding it – especially popular at rush hour with locals – it is VERY popular. And inexpensive compared to many other lines. And the lines go all over the city.

            1. You seem to have missed this line from Roger Stanns post:
              “Today, the tram is seen as a great success and you would be hard-pressed to find a Bordelais who would criticize it.”

          2. My guess is that gringos who think that Cuenca will someday transform itself into some sort of European city hang out mostly with other gringos and don’t understand the culture here. They enjoy the low cost of living but man, it sure would be nice if Ecuadorians would become a bit more civilized.
            Does a tram ride in Bordeaux cost more than 30 cents? Not many Cuencanos are going to pay more for a ride that leaves them further from their final destination than a bus would. We’re not in as much of a hurry as folks are who live in other places. We’re certainly not going to pay to park our beloved automobile so that we can hop on a train. That’s not relevant anyway because city planners didn’t consider parking at most tranvia stops.
            I could go on, but you’re mostly right about future predictions being worthless. Maybe we’ll both live another 5 or 10 years to see who’s right.

        2. the average Cuencano? Do they exist? Did you take a poll? Are they educated in urban planning and design? Have they been to Europe to see how they are a success all around? If there is a problem it may be in educating all to a better urban environment out of an accepted idea of unplanned growth in unban environments. Only need to go to Europe and parts of Asia to understand that ….

          1. Average Cuencanos make up what we call Cuenca culture. I used to take informal polls… that is ask Cuencanos what they thought about converting Avenida de las Americas, a six lane road into four lanes to reduce traffic congestion. We don’t talk about it as much as we used to because we’re good at forgiving/forgetting mistakes and moving on. No, the average Cuencano is not educated in urban planning. Like everywhere else they count on the experts for that. Obviously the experts failed miserably when planning the tranvia. Since many Cuencanos need to budget for 30 cent bus rides… no, not many have been to Europe (maybe Spain).
            When I get insulted is when foreigners come along expecting to lead Ecuadorians to a better way. They don’t need it. They do more than an adequate job of trying to copy foreign influences on their own.

    1. Wrong … the ‘smokers, produce much less pollution and noise then hundreds of cars it displaces along with needs for housing and parking and maintaining them the tram provides for an alternative to inefficient cars to city space use. The also, create hubs for development and use. If an anecdotal opinion is correct education in good urban planning and design is worthless . Have you studied any urban planning or have seen how successful they are in Europe. Otherwise, well, like our idea of the way things ought to be and or not to change … for the better – cheers!

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