SAO PAULO (Reuters) -Sugar and ethanol firm Raizen and Chinese automaker BYD are joining forces to create a network of 600 charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) in eight Brazilian cities, the companies said on Friday.
The firms aim to meet expected demand for charging infrastructure in a small but rapidly growing market.
The charging points will be installed under the Shell Recharge brand over the next three years in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and six other state capitals. Shell and conglomerate Cosan control Raizen.
"Brazil is undergoing an (energy) transition that is different from other countries, because it already has a very good solution in hybrid cars, ethanol cars. It's coming, it's going to happen," Raizen's chief executive, Ricardo Mussa, told Reuters.
Raizen, which also operates in the fuel distribution sector, has its sights on a 25% market share of the charging station segment. Through its subsidiary Raizen Power, it had previously acquired a network of charging points from startup Tupinamba.
"For us, being a pioneer is very important... This market is a fundamental part of our growth strategy," said Mussa.
Last year, sales of electric vehicles in Latin America's largest economy surged 91% from 2022 to about 94,000 vehicles, with BYD sales accounting for 18,000 of those cars.
Alexandre Baldy, BYD's special advisor in Brazil, said the agreement comes at a "strategic" time for the automaker, which should start producing in the country later this year.
"It's going to be very important, culturally, to show people that this investment is going to happen ... BYD chose Brazil as the second country in the world to invest in, to grow in," said Baldy.
(Reporting by Leticia Fucuchima; Writing by Peter Frontini; Editing by Gabriel Araujo and Chizu Nomiyama)