by Victoria Arguello
MENDOZA, Argentina, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Cherry-red Chinese-made electric buses have facilitated green mass transit in two key regions of Argentina -- the capital Buenos Aires and the western Mendoza province.
Already known for its sustainable mobility system with trolleybus powered by overhead cables, Mendoza has become the first Argentine province to have electric buses as part of its urban transportation fleet.
"We are once again pioneers with the help of Chinese technology," Raul Moreno, head of traffic for the Mendoza Transportation Society (STM), a company that manages mass transit throughout the province, told Xinhua.
The STM bought 18 Chinese-made vehicles in March, six from Zhongtong Bus and 12 from BYD. Both are China's new energy automakers.
"We have incorporated this technology in different new route services as part of a new system called Mendotran," he said.
The spacious air-conditioned electric buses can travel 250-300 km on a single charge, which takes a maximum of five hours.
"We are counting on both the traditional urban passenger service and these (new) electric units with clean, sustainable energy, which Argentina did not have before," Moreno said.
The buses are also wheelchair-accessible and can transport up to 83 passengers with 26 seats.
Lucas Campana, a local motorist, said he was pleased with the inclusion of electric buses into the public transport system.
"I think it's good ecological progress to help the environment, or it would be very polluted by all the oil, gas, diesel cars," said Campana.
Zhongtong is also part of a year-long pilot program in Buenos Aires. Four Zhongtong buses were added to bus lines in May as part of the city's 2035 Clean Mobility Plan, as the government looks to gradually renew the city's transportation system with environmentally-friendly buses based on the result of the pilot program.
In recent years, China and Argentina have strengthened bilateral cooperation in technology, including clean and renewable energy.
China has helped with Argentina's goal to generate more energy from sustainable sources through several infrastructure projects in the northwest and southern regions of the South American country.