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Argentina lowers e-bus import tariffs

Import tariffs on e-buses now lowered to 0% as Argentina looks to lower diesel consumption, and boost overall use of EVs

Following signals late last year that Argentina would move to expand its procurement and use of EVs, the government has passed a wave of new measures aimed at lowering diesel consumption.

Buses in particular were targeted, as the government lowered import duty on electric buses to 0%. Importers and manufacturers will be able to bring in up to 350 electric buses over the next three years, with a maximum of 60 per company.

However, should it do so, the business must then produce locally the equivalent amount of electric buses per year, within two years. Platts explains that were a company to import the full 60 vehicles, it must then produce at least 60 vehicles per year within two years within the country.

This measure is designed to “spur local production,” the government said.

One of the first beneficiaries is likely to be the region of La Rioja, which last year signed an agreement with China’s BYD to buy 50 e-buses.

Wider import tariffs reductions for light duty vehicles were also cleared by President Mauricio Macri last year, at around 2% for pure EVs and 5% for hybrids (down from 35%), in a bid to increase uptake. However, they only apply to specific car brands, and importers will again be subject to a quota of 6,000 vehicles over three years, although the government may grant extensions depending on uptake.

In the meantime, work is also underway to expand the charging network. Last year ABB signed a partnership deal with state energy company YPF to 220 DC fast-charging points at fuel stations across the country.

According to ABB, 110 were to be deployed in the project’s initial phase over summer 2017, along the highway that connects Buenos Aires with the coastal city of La Plata. Chargers will be compatible with the three main systems on the market – CCS, CHadeMo and AC.

While its EV fleet may be small, Argentina’s role in the market could be substantial as battery makers look to secure lithium supplies on the back of booming demand. Currently representing around 16% of the global lithium market, Macri has plans to boost production to reach 45%, according to the Financial Post.


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