Chinese leading electric vehicle maker BYD has signed a deal to start building its SkyRail in Salvador, Brazil, according to a release of BYD North America on Thursday.
The 20-kilometer-long seaside route will be partially built above the sea to connect Salvador's central business district to Sao Joao Island, with a capacity of 150,000 passengers per day. It will be connected to the city subway, providing seamless transportation for the city of 2.9 million residents, according to the release.
The project will be the first of its kind for BYD in Latin America and will become part of the city's Light Vehicle Transport System (VLT), which is slated to begin construction within six months and be fully operational by 2021.
"With the VLT, the suburban population will have a fast, comfortable mode of transport that also opens space for the development of the city," said Governor of Bahia State Rui Costa.
"New business will develop and we will attract enterprises to build commercial, residential, leisure and job-generating facilities. From a new transportation system, we will also have opportunities for growth," he said.
BYD would bring its cutting-edge transport solutions to Brazil's third-largest city, which urgently needs adequate public transport to support its growing population, said Stella Li, senior vice president of BYD Company Limited and President of BYD Motors Inc.
"SkyRail is a zero emissions and autonomous mode of transport, offering some of the best technologies available to Salvador. In addition, this will also recreate urban areas as well as generate development in the region," he added.
Launched in October 2016 after five years of research and development worth 5 billion yuan (740 million U.S. dollars), the SkyRail features an automated driving system of the highest level, according to BYD. It is currently operational in the western Chinese city of Yinchuan.