Colombia announced its signature to the Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) Declaration at the International Transport Forum’s 2024 Summit. Colombia is the third Latin American country after Chile and Uruguay to commit to work towards all new sales of cars and vans being zero emission by 2040.

Colombia is marching towards a sustainable and electric future in Latin America, further cemented by their new pledge. Today, transportation stands as Colombia’s primary source of greenhouse gas emissions, with road transport alone contributing to nearly 78% of these emissions, primarily from cars and buses. A growing fleet of almost 1.8 million fossil fuel cars in Bogotá, one of Latin America’s largest cities with over 7 million inhabitants, poses a significant challenge to air pollution control.

To reduce emissions and improve air quality, Colombia has implemented several policy measures to promote electromobility. Law 2169 formalized Colombia’s nationally determined contribution targets, which includes reducing emissions by 51% in 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. In 2019, the country approved its first-ever national electric vehicle (EV) policy, Law 1964, which aims to align emission reduction efforts with the Paris Agreement. The law provides various incentives to promote EV adoption, including tax breaks, preferential parking, and exemptions from vehicle traffic restrictions. As a part of its commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Colombia aims to deploy 600,000 EVs across all modes of transportation by 2030, representing a considerable increase from the 6,000 electric cars sold in 2023.

Furthermore, Colombia boasts the world’s second-largest electric bus fleet after China with over 1,590 electric buses in service as of September 2023. The Latin American nation has set ambitious targets to decarbonize public transportation, also signing the Global Memorandum of Understanding on Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles (MOU) at COP28 in December 2023.

Law 1964 mandates 10% of urban bus sales to be zero emission by 2025 and 100% by 2035, marking it the first and only e-bus purchase mandate in the region. Bogotá has gone one step further, declaring that all bus

Charging infrastructure is a critical component of Colombia’s zero-emission vehicle transition plan. The government set minimum EV charging infrastructure requirements, mandating the installation of at least five fast charging stations in all special category cities and 20 stations in Bogotá by July 2022. The law empowers local governments to work with the private sector in financing the installation and operating costs. Power utilities have started to install and operate public charging stations in Bogotá for example, where Enel X has installed three fast-charging stations and operates 15 stations throughout the city thus far.

Colombia has made great strides in its electrification journey and utilized policy measures as a key pillar to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles and charging infrastructure nationwide. By signing the ZEV Declaration, they take an important step towards curbing greenhouse gas emissions from road transportation and reaching net zero by 2050.