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Bolivian EV Startup Wants Tiny Car To Be Successful In Lithium-Rich Nation

By 05/14/2023 10:01 PMNo CommentsBy YidInfo Staff

Dr. Carlos Ortuo recently boarded a little electric car on a chilly morning to visit a patient outside of La Paz, the capital of Bolivia, not knowing how the vehicle would manage the steep, winding streets of the high-altitude city.

The Quantum, the first electric vehicle ever produced in Bolivia, surprised Ortuo by performing well in the city’s geography. “I thought that because of the city’s topography, it was going to struggle, but it’s a great climber,” Ortuo remarked. “There is a significant difference from a gasoline-powered vehicle.”

A government-sponsored initiative that delivers doctors to patients who live in outlying neighborhoods includes Ortuo’s house visit in a golf cart-sized vehicle.

It’s a ground-breaking concept. It promotes local production, preserves the environment, and aids in the health protection of those who need it most, according to La Paz Mayor Iván Arias.

In Bolivia, a lithium-rich nation where cheap, subsidized imported petroleum is still the standard, Quantum Motors, founded four years ago by a group of entrepreneurs, may also benefit from the program. Bolivia’s thriving auto industry, but Quantum Motors believes EVs will revolutionize the sector.

The Quantum is a box-shaped vehicle with a top speed of 35 mph (56 kph), a rechargeable battery that can be plugged into a standard outlet, and a range of 50 miles (80 kilometers) between charges.

The $7,600 vehicle’s designers believe it would reignite visions of a society powered by lithium and encourage more people to use electric vehicles.

According to José Carlos Márquez, general manager of Quantum Motors, “e-mobility will predominate globally in the coming years, but it will be different in different countries.” “Tesla will be a significant force in the United States with its quick, driverless automobiles.

However, because our streets resemble those of Bombay and New Delhi more than California, cars will be smaller in Latin America.

It has been difficult for the corporation to increase e-mobility in the South American nation. Quantum Motors has sold only 350 automobiles in Bolivia and an unspecified number of vehicles in Peru and Paraguay in the four years since it first introduced its EVs.

Later this year, the business plans to establish a facility in Mexico.

Still, given Bolivia’s resource base, Quantum Motors’ wager on battery-powered automobiles makes sense. Bolivia has the most excellent lithium reserve in the world—an essential component of electric batteries—with an estimated 21 million tons.

Still, it hasn’t yet begun to extract and industrialize its enormous metal supplies.

While this is happening, the government continues to pump millions of dollars into subsidizing imported fuel, which it then sells to the domestic market at a reduced price. Fossil fuels still fuel the majority of vehicles on the road.

Marco Antonio Rodriguez, a car mechanic in La Paz, says, “The Quantum (car) might be cheap, but I don’t think it has the capacity of a gasoline-powered car.” However, he recognizes that people might alter their minds later.

Despite the difficulties, the creators of the Quantum car are optimistic that initiatives like “Médico en tu casa,” which will expand to other neighborhoods and double in size next year, will help increase manufacturing and produce more EVs in the area.



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