BYD Launches Electric-Car Sales Just as Medellin Toughens Air-Pollution Driving Limits
China-based electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer BYD on February 7 launched sales of zero-emissions EV cars at its first-ever retail showroom in Medellin – simultaneous with the Mayor’s office announcing new driving restrictions on polluting vehicles with internal combustion engines (ICEs) for the entire Medellin metro area.
BYD’s new dealership on Avenida El Poblado opposite the Premium Plaza mall comes on the heels of winning a contract to supply 64 pure electric buses to Medellin’s “Metro” public transit agency later this year (see Medellin Herald on December 29, 2018). It’s a further sign that Medellin aims to slash air pollution by replacing ICE vehicles with EVs of all types, including cars, motorcycles, buses, taxis, local-delivery vehicles, rail transit, cable-cars and trams.
“Medellín is among the places with the greatest potential in Colombia for the development of mobility with electric vehicles,” said Juan Felipe Velásquez, BYD’s commercial director for Antioquia.
“Both the municipal administration and private companies [including EV sellers Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi] have made important bets in the development of sustainable mobility . . . The environmental [air-pollution] contingency of the metropolitan area has caused the authorities to focus their efforts on electric vehicle replacement,” he added.
Medellin also aims to expand the fleet of EV taxis, Velasquez said. “This project is very important for us as BYD, so much so that we are structuring two electric-taxi pilot [projects] with different individual public transport administration companies, which will start in a few months,” he said.
Beyond EV cars, buses and taxis, BYD “intends to exploit a high-potential market with last-mile cargo [local delivery] vehicles,” according to the company.
Meanwhile, Medellin and the regional planning agency (Area Metropolitana del Valle de Aburra, AMVA) on February 7 jointly announced greater “pico y placa” restricions on more ICE vehicles over more days — including six days/week (rather than the current five) and sequentially hitting six of the last nine digits on license plates each day, rather than just the current four of the nine digits.
The existing “pico y placa” vehicle-driving restrictions alternately ban circulation of vehicles — depending upon the final digits of license plates — during morning and afternoon rush-hours. However, zero-emissions EVs are exempt from such driving restrictions.
Under the new scheme – debuting February 18 and lasting until at least March 30, the typical “dry” season for air-pollution alerts – older, higher-polluting vehicles will face even greater hours-of-operation restrictions, from 5 am to 8:30 am, and then from 4:30 pm to 9 pm Monday through Saturday, according to AMVA.