FEATURE-Chile drives electric vehicle rollout in Latin America – by Natalia A. Ramos Miranda (Thomson Reuters News – December 9, 2018)

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SANTIAGO, Dec 9 (Reuters) – A massive cargo ship docked in the Chilean port of San Antonio at the end of November, carrying it its belly the first 100 electric buses from China that Chileans hope will revolutionize their public transport system.

Chile’s ambitious plan to face down its capital Santiago’s notorious smog problem includes the rollout of electric scooters, cars and taxis, as well as lorries for use in the mining industry.

Mineral-rich Chile – which is not only the world’s largest copper producer but also the second-largest producer of lithium, a key component in electric vehicle batteries – aims to increase the number of electric vehicles tenfold by 2022.

Energy minister Susana Jiménez told Reuters the government wanted electric vehicles to account for 40 percent of Chile’s private fleet and 100 percent of public transportation on the roads by 2050. The initiative puts Chile at the forefront of clean mobility in Latin America as well as among developing countries worldwide.

But it represents a significant challenge given the persistently high price of electric vehicles and the paucity of charging points in the country. Chile has just 40 public charging stations – half of them in Santiago, according to the energy ministry.

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