ALTERNATIVES IN PARIS
Of all European capitals, Paris claims to lead the way in the move to zero- or low-emission buses. Firstly, Paris views hybrid as a transitional technology and not part of its long-term plans. Secondly, it sees biogas as a significant player in its fleet of the future
Greater similarity surrounds opinions on opportunity charging. It plays no part in Paris’s transition to procuring only alternative energy buses. Instead, RATP has settled on overnight recharging. “Satisfactory operation using opportunity charging is, we believe, expensive and difficult,” says Nicolas Cartier, bus 2025 Programme Director.
RATP is focused on getting battery electric buses into service. It already has 74 of them, and they are proving successful. On route 341, they have replaced diesel counterparts on a one-for-one basis.
The procurement of battery electric buses is not the most difficult part of its efforts. 17 of RATP’s 25 depots will eventually be converted to electric-only and the logistics of doing that will be challenging.
“Each depot will need up to 12MW of power and we will also need to provide charging points without reducing capacity. It will take two years to complete the necessary work. The issue while it is taking place is where we park the displaced buses,” says Nicolas. When work is complete, battery electric buses’ lower maintenance requirements are expected to allow a 20% reduction in engineer headcount.
What is clear is that RATP is serious about transforming Paris’s buses. Procurement of 1,000 battery electric buses will start soon, and manufacturers will be required to guarantee their batteries for up to eight years.