09 Aug 2018 Press release Climate change

Panama advances electric mobility with UN Environment and EU support

  • Panama’s local and national Government, together with the private sector will participate in the preparation of an electric mobility strategy in the country.
  • The Euroclima + program of the European Union will finance the project.
  • The transition to electric vehicles in the Panamanian capital would help to prevent premature deaths of over 400 people, due to respiratory diseases.

Panama, August 9, 2018.- In an effort to drastically scale back vehicle emissions across Panama, national and local governments together with the private sector have launched a process to implement a National Electric Mobility Strategy.

The project, supported by UN Environment and funded by the flagship climate program of the EU in Latin America, Euroclima +, was launched today in Panama City with the kick-off of the first development strategy workshop.

If the current fleet of buses and taxis of Panama City were replaced with electric vehicles right now, the country could save US$ 500 million in fuel by 2030, and avoid the emission of 8.5 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, according to a UN Environment assessment.

This transition to electric vehicles in the Panamanian capital would also help to prevent the premature deaths of more than 400 people, due to respiratory diseases associated with air quality.

autobus eléctrico en ciudad de Panamá
The Municipality of Panama City recently deployed an electric bus at the historical downtown. Photo of the Municipality of Panama City

"Introducing electric mobility is key for countries to comply with climate commitments under the Paris Agreement, but it will also help us to clean the air, reduce deaths caused by air pollution and create sound cities for millions of people," said UN Environment Regional Director in Latin America and the Caribbean, Leo Heileman.

"Panama’s Ministry of Energy will guarantee users alternative solutions to sustainably move around, and will encourage the installation of electric charging stations in strategic locations of the country," said the Secretary of Energy, Víctor Urrutia.

Among the workshop participants were representatives of the Panama City Municipality, public transport companies like MiBus and Metro de Panamá (subway), civil society organizations and business such as energy distribution firms, the Panamanian chapter of the World Energy Council and manufacturers of electric vehicles.

At the launch of this initiative, UN Environment and BMW’s electric vehicles sub-brand BMWi, signed a memorandum of understanding that will allow joint efforts towards electric mobility in Latin America and the Caribbean, through technical support.

"We are very happy to start this partnership towards a future of electric, clean and sustainable mobility, with fewer emissions, but with the same spirit. We want to work together to develop electric mobility in the region, by promoting technology and sustainable solutions together with with UN Environment, citizens and governments," said Oliver Rosenthal, Head of BMWi in Latin America.

In the region, BMWi currently works in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama and Uruguay.

UN Environment promotes the transition to electric mobility in Latin America and the Caribbean through MOVE, a platform that provides countries with technical assistance, mobilization of international resources, training and political solutions to accelerate the deployment of electric mobility.

Currently, 3 million electric passenger cars are being used around the world, twice as many as in 2016. By 2040, 55% of new vehicles sold will be electric, which will amount to one third of the world fleet, according to the most recent report of the International Energy Agency.


About UN Environment

UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, civil society and other stakeholders, and with UN entities and international organizations across the world. 


Euroclima + is a European Union financed program that offers a wide range of specialized services aimed at supporting the implementation of the Paris Agreement commitments in the field of climate governance, financing and technical assistance for the execution of projects in the Latin American countries.

About BMWi

BMWi is a sub-brand of the BMW Group launched in 2011, focusing on electric vehicles. In addition to the introduction of its electric models, it supports the deployment of public charging stations in the countries where it works. BMWi has been present in the region since 2014.

For more information, please contact:

Communications Unit, Latin America and the Caribbean, UN Environment, [email protected], +507 305-3182.