In Santiago de Chile there is room for a third Chinese manufacturer. While BYD and Yutong have already completed the delivery of large fleets of battery-electric buses (BYD received one year ago a follow-up order for 183 vehicles), Foton AUV is currently supplying a further batch of 215 e-buses. For the manufacturer, it’s the very first electric bus order from Latin America.
Furthermore, in early June, a Foton electric bus has been converted in a mobile laboratory for Covid-19 PCR sample collection.
215 Foton electric buses for Chile
61 units of Foton AUV electric buses were delivered in early April, with further 154 ready for shipping in Chile, according to chinabuses.org. The Chinese manufacturer is also aiming at establishing e-bus production in Egypt.
In early June, one of the vehicles has been adapted to operate as a mobile sanitary lab for PCR sampling in the framework of an alliance established between Enel, the Universidad Católica Faculty of Medicine, and the UC Christus Health Network.
A mobile sanitary lab inside the electric bus
“This is one of the actions that we are implementing as a company, working alongside local governments, hospitals, and organizations that work tirelessly to combat the pandemic. We want to go and help the people who need it most, and it was vital to take action as quickly as possible. All of this is made possible through the work that we have been doing with communities for a long time, particularly in areas where the company does business,” said Enel Chile’s chairman Herman Chadwick.
A 100% electric laboratory against Covid-19
Felipe Heusser, Dean of the UC Faculty of Medicine, explained that “the electric bus that Enel has now made available to the COVID-19 Hope project stands as proof of the efforts being made by the Universidad Católica, through our Faculty of Medicine and the UC CHRISTUS Health Network, and the private company, to combat this pandemic. Without a doubt, this is vital support for the project that we are implementing together with BHP, with the goal of very significantly increasing COVID-19 diagnostic capacity, so as to identify, isolate, and provide follow-up care to patients in the southwestern sector of the Metropolitan Region – specifically La Pintana and Puente Alto districts.”
“We are living in complex times that require collaboration from everyone. The implementation of our 100% electric laboratory bus is a totally new initiative in Chile, both in terms of the vehicle’s characteristics and its implementation, and reaffirms our commitment to helping overcome this pandemic affecting our country and the world, incorporating electric transport for healthcare, while also helping care for the environment and reducing pollution in the city,” explained Karla Zapata, CEO of Enel X Chile.
“At the Kaufmann Group, innovating and creating new and extraordinary transport solutions is seen as one of our responsibilities, particularly when we can benefit not only end users of this service bus also medical personnel, the public at large, and the environment. This Foton bus is a made-to-measure solution that offers zero local emissions and low noise levels, remaining friendly to the ecosystem,” said Cristián Contreras, electric transport manager at Kaufmann.