Image: Enel X

The first three fast electric vehicle (EV) charging stations have been put into operation on the main route south out of Chile’s capital Santiago.

The project led by Enel X and the local Shell licensee Enex is installing the charge points at Shell service stations. The fourth is due to be delivered shortly out of a total of 10 that will be installed between Santiago and the city of Concepción 430 km to the south.

“We have created this alliance with Enel X as part of the new Shell service station standard,” says Cristián Díaz, manager of commercial planning at Enex. “The objective is to provide our customers with a solution that optimises their charging time and supports the development of electromobility in the country.”

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The project forms part of the ambitious ElectroRuta initiative launched by Enel X in January to span Chile with EV charging stations from Arica in the north to Punta Arenas in the south by 2024. The plan is to instal 1,200 public charging stations to cover the 5,000 km distance with one approximately every 60km and more in the cities.

These will be located not only at service stations but also at retail outlets, hotels, car rental facilities, academic institutions and industrial sites among others.

With an estimated 81,000 EVs on Chile’s roads by 2024, the ElectroRuta charging stations with more than 1,800 charge points, are expected to address more than half of the country’s charging infrastructure needs at that time.

The initial investment in what is set to be the largest EV charging network in Latin America is $15 million.

The foundations for ElectroRuta were laid in 2019 with the installation of the first charging stations in Santiago, as well as in the southern cities of Concepción, Temuco and Chillán, and on the first 200km section of the main route north out of Santiago to the coastal city of Los Vilos.

The new charging stations installed in the Shell project are the 50kW JuicePump model, which provides simultaneous charging of two EVs in a time of 25 to 40 minutes.

Other models being implemented in Electroruta are the JuiceBox and JuicePole with a 105-minute charging time and Enel X’s ultra-fast charger with four points that can deliver a full charge in under 10 minutes.

Alongside the infrastructure delivery for passenger EVs in Chile, Enel X is involved in the electrification of public buses. Last year the company in partnership with the metropolitan bus company Metbus and battery maker BYD delivered the region’s first ‘electric corridor’ used exclusively by almost 300 electric buses.