Uruguay is becoming known in South America as a trendsetter, by taking bold measures towards sustainable development and improvement of its citizens’ quality of life.

Now it is aiming towards energy efficiency and reduced emissions, by jumping on Bogota’s bandwagon – which already relies on a 45 BYD e6 taxi fleet – and incorporating a fleet of 50 BYD e6 fully electric taxis to run the streets of Montevideo. Before introduction, the vehicles were in testing since February this year.

The country currently relies on a total fleet of 5,000 fossil fuel taxis, 60% of which are in the capital. 62% of the country’s energy comes from imported fossil fuels – 29% of which going into transportation – thus compelling the administration to set a serious decarbonization target of 30% by 2015.

The Uruguayan government plans to offer subsidies and other incentives to taxi operators willing to switch to electric taxis. Altogether, a single pure electric taxi in Uruguay will receive the equivalent to $100,000 in subsidies, according to the press release.

To achieve such goals, the government will be offering unprecedented subsidies and advantages to those willing to embrace electric taxis as an alternative to the seemingly less costly fuel cars: the taxi license for a pure electric vehicle will have a 60,000 USD subsidy, which is 50% less as compared to a conventional taxi; owners will also be exempted of the 23% import tax on the vehicles. As for charging infrastructure, government stimulus policies will promote the installation of charging facilities with a 5,000 USD subsidy for each charging pole installed. Altogether, a single pure electric taxi in Uruguay will receive the equivalent to 100,000 USD in subsidies.

In a ceremony held on Friday, August 14, national and departmental authorities were introduced to the first BYD electric taxis that will soon start operating in the city. Uruguay’s Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining, Carolina Cosse; the Mayor of Montevideo, Daniel Martinez; the President of UTE, Gonzalo Casaravilla; and the President of the National Taxi Union, Oscar Dourado, all spoke of the importance of energy policies that promote more efficient and environmentally friendly technologies for the transport sector, particularly with electric fleet vehicles. Mr. Casaravilla and Mr. Dourado also emphasized the urge to build a zero pollution and zero-emission green Montevideo. Minister Carolina Cosse stated: “We need to develop a broader and more robust productive matrix, and the two main components are energy and innovation.”