MONTEVIDEO, July 29 (Xinhua) -- With an eye to promoting a sustainable public transit network, Uruguay's capital Montevideo has incorporated the very first hybrid vehicle into its bus fleet.
The Chinese-made bus, which is powered by a combination of diesel and electricity, saves on fuel and cuts down on carbon dioxide emission, making it both cost effective and environmentally friendly.
The goal is "to benefit society by improving mass transit" with "sustainable models," said Montevideo Mayor Daniel Martinez during a ceremony outside City Hall earlier this week to unveil the vehicle.
"The transportation of the future is electric," he added.
Attending the event were Transport Minister Victor Rossi, representatives of Yutong, China's leading bus manufacturer, and the COETC, the cooperative that operates Montevideo's bus fleet, among others.
Rossi said the new vehicle represented a "transcendent" step towards preserving the environment.
Martinez hailed that the public-private partnership made it possible to modernize the city's transit network.
Incorporating the hybrid into the fleet "shows the alignment between public and private players," said Martinez.
The bus, expected to save the operator, the city and ultimately the commuters 30 percent in fuel costs, will run on different routes while the COETC assesses its performance.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Energy Guillermo Moncecchi said his agency will monitor the trial runs so it can formulate future policy based on the data.
Following the presentation, officials and guests boarded the bus for a test drive.
In December, the federal government inaugurated Latin America's first "Electric Route," a 300-km-long tract of highway that links the western city of Colonia with Montevideo and Punta del Este to the east, which is installed with charging stations at 60-km intervals for electric cars and other vehicles.
In 2016, Uruguay generated as much as 95 percent of its energy from renewable sources like water, wind and solar power, according to official sources.