The city of Bogota, Colombia launched what it said will become the largest all-electric taxi fleet in South America.

On Aug. 2, BYD Co., Ltd., Codesa, Praco, Helm Bank, and ETC held a ceremony at the Tercer Milenio Charging Station announcing and displaying all-electric e6 taxis to be put into service in Colombia’s capital city.

The 45, BYD e6 vehicles are all to be part of that country’s new “BIOTAXIS Project.”

“The purpose of this pilot is to replace conventional taxis with the electric taxis and show a visible benefit to investors due to the reduced operational cost of electric vehicles. Anybody who owns a combustion taxi in operation has the ability to replace it with an electric taxi now”, commented by Dr. Gustavo Petro Urrero, Mayor of Bogota.

BYD said Bogota’s “Decree 677 of 2011” clearly states the need for the city to develop instruments and tools to support and promote the development of electric transportation policy and has been promoted in conjunction with the Departments of the Environment and Sustainability, Commerce Ministry and the Finance Ministry.

“The import duty of hybrid bus, truck and CNG vehicles will be reduced down to 5 percent from 15 percent, while the import duty of pure electric bus, truck, taxi and private cars will be entirely eliminated,” explained Dr. Adriana Soto Carreño, Minister of the Department of the Environment and Sustainability. “It’s anticipated that 2,250 pure electric vehicles will benefit from this act in just 3 years.”

BYD said that according to a report from the World Bank in 2012, the economic loss caused by air pollution in Colombia is 570 million pesos (local currency) every year, and pollution from dirty petroleum transportation may have played a role in as many as 5,000 deaths in the country.

The BYD e6 is a 5-passenger pure electric utility vehicle powered by BYD’s core technology Iron-Phosphate battery. It is a crossover between a sedan and a SUV with what BYD calls superior interior space and additional 450 liters of cargo space. The nominal range of e6 from a single charge is 300 kilometers (186.4 miles). Using BYD’s internally-developed bi-directional charging and discharging technology, the e6 can be fully charged in 2 hours. With over 800 e6 vehicles running as public eTaxis today, the e6 fleets have an accumulated range of over 100 million kilometers (as of Aug, 1st, 2013).