Mérida will be the first city in Mexico and Latin America with a fleet of electric buses as public transport 


Mérida will be the first city in Mexico and Latin America with a fleet of electric buses as public transportation. The project joins several sustainability options that countries such as China and India have undertaken to reduce the emissions of polluting particles from the environment and thus combat climate change. 

Technological projects are beginning to emerge in the world to reduce the impact of human activity on the planet. Some examples of this are light trains powered by renewable energy, 100 percent electric buses, and cargo trucks that use this type of energy and are equipped with photocatalytic systems that carry out a process like photosynthesis that eliminates harmful compounds for the environment, among others. 

Electric buses are powered by Lithium-Ion batteries, which allow more energy to be stored in less space than other types of batteries. Likewise, these can be re-supplied with energy at fixed recharging points powered by photovoltaic energy, which takes from half an hour to four hours. 

In Latin America there are public transport projects powered by renewable energy, such as the Light Train in Mexico City. Although until last year there was no electric bus project. 

Mérida, a city inhabited by one million 316 thousand 88 people, will be the first metropolis in Mexico and Latin America with a fleet of electric buses for public transport. 

The project is called e-Tram and will be a line of electric buses manufactured by the Spanish company Irizar, which also produces part of the Autobuses de Oriente (ADO) fleet and has contracts with Iberdrola for sustainable mobility projects. The name of this project arises from the model of this bus that has aesthetic aspects of a tram. 

The e-Tram units are powered by Lithium-Ion batteries. In this sense, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) builds the Nachi Cocom photovoltaic plant to power the e-Tram. 

This power plant has an investment of 9.16 million pesos and will have a generation capacity of 7.5 MW. At the end of the work, scheduled for December 2023, there will be 11,223 monocrystalline solar modules installed, which take advantage of the photoelectric effect that is characterized by the production of an electric current between two pieces of different material that are in contact and exposed to electricity. Likewise, it will benefit 25 thousand daily users. 

Each unit of the e-Tram has fast charging USB ports for cell phones, WiFi and a real-time geolocator that will allow you to track your route from the “Va y Ven” mobile application, eleven cameras that will allow a 360-degree vision for better driving that will help identify cyclists and pedestrians to avoid accidents. 

In addition, the units will be adapted for people with disabilities: they will have a ramp, light alarms, push buttons in Braille and a foot-tactile guide. 

The project will have 32 units, each one of them, with the capacity to transport 105 passengers in total with 33 people seated. Likewise, it is estimated that 25,000 users will be mobilized per day. 

The E-Tram will have three routes that will connect more than 137 neighborhoods in three municipalities of Yucatán: Mérida, Umán and Kanasín; another 80 transportation routes, 30 educational centers, two Mayan Train stations, Parque de la Plancha and 20 tourist spots in Mérida. 

The investment in this project was a total of 2 thousand 820 million pesos, of which 61 percent is public investment from the state government, 23 percent from the federal government through Banobras, and 16 percent from private investment. 

According to a study coordinated by Sergio H. Mojica, a specialist from the Inter-American Development Bank, if public transport powered by fossil fuels in 22 Latin American cities were replaced by means powered by renewable energy, the region could save almost 64 billion dollars in fuel by 2030 and avoid the emission of 300 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. 

In addition, the study itself considers that the investment in the improvement of public transport will benefit people who prefer to move through said means and not by private cars due to saving time. 

Innovation of public transport in the world 

India has been one of the countries with the greatest innovation in means of public transport that emit less harmful gases for the environment. Since, it was the first region to establish the use of compressed natural gas on its railway lines, which, despite being a fossil fuel, emits fewer polluting particles. Another more recent step was the implementation of hybrid locomotives powered by solar energy and the same by diesel. 

India Solar Powered Trains 

On the other hand, Shenzhen, China, is the first city in the world with a fleet of electric buses as a means of public transportation. Bloomberg conducted a study on electric buses in 2017 and found that there was a fleet of 385,000 units across the planet, 99 percent of which were part of China’s mobility system. 

Shenzhen is a city with 12 million inhabitants and since 2013 the public policies of that metropolis began to replace buses powered by fossil fuels with 100 percent electric buses. Four years later this materialized in the entire public transport fleet, in 2018 a law was approved that prohibits the use of internal combustion fuels. 

Electric buses in China 

Therefore, with adequate planning, the Shenzhen authorities  manages to mobilize a large number of users at fixed hours and full days of operation with a single charge. 

As of today, 29 cities in China have joined the path carried out by Shenzhen to replace public transport, mainly made up of fossil fuel buses, which has meant a 32 percent reduction in particulate matter emissions for the country yearly. 

According to Bloomberg, for every thousand electric public transport buses, 500 barrels of oil are not used every day. While a thousand electric cars only move 15  barrels of oil every day. 

   Source: La Jornada del Oriente