Panama-Costa Rica route now equipped for environmentally friendly travel

By Ana de Leon

Panama City, Dec 6 (EFE).- Motorists traveling between Panama City and San Jose, Costa Rica, can keep their environmental footprint to a minimum now that a new “electric route” has been established on the Pan American Highway.

“Besides reducing emissions, the goal is for both countries to join forces so the government and private sector can promote citizens’ adoption of electric vehicles,” Alexander Fragueiro, the Panamanian Energy Secretariat’s national consultant on electric mobility, told Efe.

Sixty recharge points are located along the route in Panamanian territory, while Costa Rica boasts 43 Direct Current Fast Chargers (which take about an hour to recharge an EV’s battery) and 150 Level 2 (semi-fast) chargers (roughly eight hours for a full charge, depending on the type of car and battery).

Most of the recharge points are strategically located at commercial establishments on the side of the PanAm Highway, a network of roads that stretches across the Americas.

To advertise this new regional sustainability initiative, a caravan of EVs last week covered the entire, nearly 900-kilometer (560-mile) route from Costa Rica’s capital to Panama City.

“We’re very happy and enthusiastic. The San Jose-Panama City electric route has several recharge points so those of us with electric vehicles can move from capital to capital,” the executive director of the Costa Rican Electric Mobility Association, Silvia Rojas, told Efe.

Private sector companies have provided a key boost to the initiative by setting up recharge points at their establishments.

“We’re seeing that the private sector is increasingly enthusiastic and all-in on electric mobility. We arrived in Panama, showing that indeed it is possible,” Rojas added.

“The vehicles’ technology is zero emissions,” but where that electricity comes from also matters, she said,

In that regard, “99 percent of the electricity is renewable on the Costa Rican side of this electric route, and on the Panamanian side they’re also producing (electricity from) wind and solar,” Rojas said.

One of the companies that offers clean-energy recharge points in Panama is La Casa de las Baterias, a battery retailer and energy systems services provider that uses solar panels for its power needs and has branches located at different points along the highway.

“100 percent of the power we deliver is renewable. Besides our commitment to electric mobility, we’re committed to sustainable energy,” Manuel Gimenez, a solar energy and e-mobility specialist at La Casa de las Baterias, told Efe.

The Evergo technology platform also offers a chain of charging stations along the route, one of that company’s spokespersons, Norberto Cussati, said.

Fragueiro said that electric vehicles not only are more environmentally friendly but also cheaper than automobiles powered by fossil fuels.

“It can cost around $8 to go from Costa Rica to Panama, while with an Internal Combustion Engine vehicle it can be more than $25 or $50,” he added. EFE


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