Panama usually doesn’t come to mind when listing which countries promote environmentally-friendly practices. But the Panama Canal Authority (PAC), which manages the world-renown canal system, recently added its first electric vehicle (EV) to its service fleet.
The lucky EV is a Ford Focus Electric hatchback, and it’s the latest addition to PAC’s “green” fleet. In 2009, the agency acquired nine hybrid vehicles for its various departments. It also installed solar panels for a pilot program at the Mendoza Potable Water Treatment plant.
Says Jorge L. Quijano, administrator for PAC, “Our world will not be the same in the upcoming years. Each generation has to assume a role and our responsibility to fight against climate change is now, when there is still time.
“Our mission is a group of concrete actions that promote a style of production and consumption that facilitates dialogue with our environment. To think green, allows us to act green; that is why we believe that each dollar spent in conservation is an investment, not an expense. That is how we target resources to renewable and clean energy.”
The Ford Focus Electric was selected as the latest step in PAC’s efficient energy management plan for 2011-2020. EVs, according to the plan, convert 85 percent of their fuel into momentum while conventional fossil-fuel burning engines only transform 20 percent of fuel to energy to move the car. The other 80 percent is released as damaging greenhouse gas emissions and wasted heat. Canal authorities also point out that the use of electric vehicles means no environmentally-damaging oil residue from car oil or filters.
The Focus Electric will be used by the mailing unit at the Authority’s Inter-Institutional and Administrative Coordination division. A dedicated 240 V charging unit will recharge the EV, which has a range of approximately 75 miles, in two hours.