E-Bus Adoption in Chile Picks Up Speed


Urban development project electrifying public transportation serves as a model for cities in Latin America.

Chile is currently undergoing one of the most ambitious transport modernizations in the world, with green mobility and the transition to a fully electric public transportation fleet as one of its fundamental pillars. 

In 2021, Chile´s Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications together with the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Environment launched the country’s National Electromobility Strategy. One of the strategy’s central objectives was to outline the actions that Chile must take in the short and medium term to make 100% of its public transport vehicles electric by the year 2050, thereby substantially improving Chile’s energy efficiency, mitigating its greenhouse gas emissions, and improving the quality of life of Chileans along the way.  

The ambitious e-bus plan has been a clear success so far, with Santiago de Chile’s RED transit system growing from over 400 electric buses in 2019 to more than 2,000 in 2023. Outside of China, Santiago de Chile is now the city with the largest electric fleet in the world, having made rapid progress expanding the program in a short time.

Financing 2,037 low or zero emission buses in Santiago de Chile

To help continue the plan’s momentum, Societe Generale recently teamed up with Infrabridge– the innovative infrastructure equity investment management business and a division of DigitalBridge - in the $180M financing of a fleet of 679 new 100% electric buses and associated charging infrastructure for the RED transit system.  Societe Generale acted as Joint Lead Arranger on the transaction.

This marks the latest in a series of deals Societe Generale has helped broker and advise on to reduce the country’s greenhouse gases and air pollutants through electromobility, having conducted similar transactions in 2020 and 2021. As the transaction reduces greenhouse gases and other pollutants by replacing diesel burning buses with cleaner electric models, the project meets the Clean Transportation criteria under the Green Loan Principles framework.

“Societe Generale has actively supported the achievement of Chile’s goals by providing financing towards green public transportation projects in Santiago over the past few years”, said Fabrício Miranda, Societe Generale Chile.

In total, the deals have resulted in the financing of 2,037 low or zero emission buses in Santiago.

“We’re extremely pleased to expand upon the series of deals that have made Santiago de Chile an example of successful public transportation decarbonization in Latin America,” said Societe Generale’s Eugenio Veiga, who worked on the deal. “The rapid adoption of electric buses has allowed for Chile to make improvements in their transportation infrastructure while simultaneously lowering their country’s carbon emissions.”