On April 28, Chilean President Sebastian Piñera paid an exclusive visit to BYD’s global headquarters in Shenzhen, emphasizing the “unlimited opportunities” for future cooperation between his country and BYD, as part of a state visit to China for the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing.
Accompanied by BYD Chairman and President Wang Chuanfu, the President and his delegation were shown BYD’s entire new energy product line-up and SkyRail system, also riding its latest new energy vehicle, by which they were impressed.
President Piñera said, "the overall development of BYD coincides with Chile's future development plan, we are highly consistent in our vision, so future cooperation between our two sides will have much to offer."
President Piñera explained his three reasons for visiting BYD. Firstly, Chile is about to transform its public transport system from one powered by fossil fuels to an electrified one, for example, in the next 3 years, all 5,300 buses in the capital Santiago will be replaced by environmental-friendly buses. Secondly, Chile plans to upgrade its urban rail transit system in the near future, with plans to extend the current metro system in Santiago from 150 km to 300 km. Thirdly, Chile also hopes to work with Chinese companies on clean energy projects, such as storage systems, because Chile is rich in solar, wind, tidal and geothermal resources but these will require energy storage projects to be used rationally. "So, in every aspect, BYD and Chile have unlimited opportunities to work together." the President stressed.
Presently, Chile’s urban smog problems are severe, so the government plans to promote the use of electric buses, electric taxis, as well as electric trucks for the mining industry, encouraging the use of pure electric buses in public transport. It plans to increase the number of electric vehicles ten-fold by 2022, with 100% of the country’s public transportation to be electric by 2040.
“In December 2018, we delivered 100 pure electric buses to Chile, which became Latin America’s largest fleet of electric buses,” said BYD Chairman and President Wang Chuanfu. “This was a big move by BYD to help Chile transform its public transportation, and forms a blueprint for China and Chile to work together on a green development path along the Belt and Road.”
In order to strengthen its environmental protection plans, Chile will reportedly introduce many more BYD pure electric buses in the near future, and order numbers are expected to double.
Stella Li, Senior Vice President of BYD, was invited to join the President Piñera on the morning of April 28 in attending the Shenzhen Tech Companies Meeting, describing BYD's development plan in Chile in her keynote address, "We are not just exporting a single zero-emission bus product, but will also export a complete set of clean transport solutions." From products to solutions to industry standards, BYD wants to help Santiago, like Shenzhen, become a global leader in clean transport.”
“We believe that this visit by the President reaffirms our leadership in electric mobility in Chile and Latin America,” said Tamara Berríos, Country Manager of BYD Chile. “The arrival of our 100-bus fleet in December last year was the starting point for the public transport revolution that this government is leading. We are proud that Chile has become a reference in innovation and sustainability in the Latin America region.”
In addition to Wang Chuanfu, the President was accompanied by legendary Chilean racer Eliseo Salazar, the only F1 racer in Chilean history, the Silverstone track champion of the British F1 Championships and the world’s only racer to compete in the world’s top five racing leagues. Eliseo joined BYD in August 2017. On the day of the President's visit, Eliseo drove BYD's latest pure electric vehicle, the New Generation Tang EV, to demonstrate its outstanding performance.
“It is a great honor to personally demonstrate to the President the stunning performance of our latest new energy vehicles,” said Eliseo Salazar. “New energy vehicles are now a global trend, and BYD has a deep expertise and experience in this area, which is the main reason why I joined the company. Today, seeing more and more BYD pure electric buses in my home country, I feel increasingly confident in my decision to join this great company.”
As early as December 2014, BYD set up a branch in the Chilean capital of Santiago, which currently has a team of 42, with a complete after-sales service system, equipped with an independent warehouse and an after-sales office.
BYD has also seen growing demand for its eco-friendly public transportation solutions across Latin America. In May 2018, BYD announced the signing of a deal to build a cross-sea monorail in Salvador, Brazil. In January of this year BYD won the bid to provide the Colombian city of Medellin with the country’s largest fleet of pure electric buses, also the second-largest fleet in the region. In addition, BYD announced the signing of a cooperation agreement on April 22 to bring its K9 pure electric buses to Panama City.