Can you imagine traveling some 220 kilometers, about the distance between San Jose and Liberia in Guanacaste, for only ¢1,200 colones?

An electrical vehicle getting a rapid charge at an ICE station that is also available free to the public

In a typical gasoline engined vehicle the cost is about ¢15,000 colones; however, in an electric vehicle about US$2 is all it costs for a full battery charge.

With these savings in mind, the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) has purchased 100 electric vehicles to replace its existing vehicular fleet.

ICE says it takes about 4 hours to fully charge, for example, the Hyundai Ionic 2019, at home or in about 20 minutes at an ICE rapid charge center.

The ¢1,200 colones is based on a home electrical rate at night. ICE and its subsidiary, the Compañia Nacional de Fuerza y Luz (CNFL) – national light and power company – as residential customers have lower rates between 8 pm and 6 am. Charging the car during the day would cost more than three times than at night, about ¢4,000 colones.

The new units were displayed in the parking lot of the DIPOA building in Sabana Norte. With this acquisition, the Institute saves up to 75% by moving from fossil fuels to electricity. The vehicles will give the same performance as conventional, but without producing sonic pollution or gas emissions.

At the same time, ICE announced the installation of 110 semi-rapid chargers, seven of these will be for access to the public, free of charge. They are located in Limón, Guápiles, Quepos, Puntarenas, Pérez Zeledón, Garabito Plant (Montes de Oro) and Liberia (Mall Liberia).

To back up what it promises, following the formal ceremony, five of the electric vehicles left the ICE facilities to different points to demonstrate the autonomy and safety of the fleet. They were directed to Liberia (209 kilometers), Quepos (162 kilometers), Pérez Zeledón (136 kilometers), Puntarenas (95.5 kilometers) and Guapiles (67.5 kilometers).

A sixth vehicle was used to move President Carlos Alvarado and the First Lady, Claudia Dobles, to Casa Presidencial (Government Hosue) in Zapote.

President Carlos Alvarado being driven to Casa Presidencial in one of ICE’s new all-electric vehicles

The First Lady stressed that “we are working hard to promote zero emissions mobility among. That is why from the institutionality we give clear signals that this is the route that Costa Rica has taken. Actions such as the change in the ICE vehicle fleet add significantly to the country’s goals to decarbonize the transport sector.”

Irene Cañas Díaz, president of the Grupo ICE, aid that “this is a first great step forward, by ICE and its companies, towards the decarbonization of transport and the country’s economy. We hope to inspire other institutions and the private sector to fully initiate the transition. We are going to demonstrate that electric transport is the option for our environment to recover from the pollution generated by decades in the streets.”

Cañas explained that “the next step in this route will be the formation of the National Rapid Charge Network (Recarga Rápida) in 2019, which will have more than 30 points strategically distributed in sectors served by ICE and the CNFL. This will allow all electric users, in addition to the ease of charging at home, to travel with total autonomy to any point in Costa Rica.”

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