First tests are conclusive
Over the period 2015-2017, we launched a major programme to test electric buses under real life operating conditions with passengers. Our goal: to prepare bids to tender for high-volume bus purchases by late 2017, with massive shipments to begin in 2019.
We have already signed agreements with each of the following manufacturers, to test standard electric buses:
Three European bus makers, Heuliez Bus (France), Irizar (Spain) and Solaris Bus & Coach (Poland);
Two Chinese companies: Yutong in association with the French Dietrich Carebus and BYD.
From late 2015 we tested these buses for several months on two benchmark bus lines: line 21, which runs from Boulevard Haussmann to Parc Montsouris, and line 147, from Eglise de Pantin to Sevran.
RATP and Île-de-France Mobilités have also signed a comprehensive contract for the first standard electric bus line, with 23 buses provided by Bluebus, a subsidiary of the Bolloré group. Since early 2017, they have been operating on line 341, between Porte de Clignancourt and Place de l’Etoile. The buses are only recharged at the bus depot at night. They have an autonomy of 180km, and like conventional standard buses, they have a passenger capacity of more than 90 passengers. This is a European first for such a large fleet.
In late 2016, Île-de-France Mobilités and RATP launched a second test, with the aim of adding an additional twenty 12m BlueBus buses on two other lines starting in late 2017. The buses will be partially recharged at their terminus stations.
From a practical point of view:
- The major works involved in the project entails a meticulous organization within the bus depots, as the infrastructure works should be carried out without disrupting day-to-day operations. The construction sites take up operating space, which may require redirecting bus lines or temporarily storing buses on outdoor premises. The project’s supervising teams and the operating unit are working together to ensure our passengers enjoy the highest quality of service.
- The maintenance workshops face sizeable challenges as they entail mastering new technologies,
- as well as defining new maintenance trades for the electric and CNG charging infrastructure.
- The new buses also require machine operators learn to operate them
The energy transition also means hybrid buses
While waiting for industrial manufacturers to develop electric buses that meet our technical and economic requirements for operating in dense urban environments, we have been equipping ourselves with hybrid buses.
The advantage of this solution is a reduction of noise pollution and vibrations within the bus. It also generates fuel savings of 20-30%, compared to diesel buses.
As of mid-2021, the RATP-operated bus fleet already comprises approximately 40% clean energy buses (electric buses, CNG-powered or hybrid). By the end of 2021, 350 new electric and CNG-powered vehicles will integrate the fleet. It will then be another 500 every year between 2022 and 2024.
Gradual conversion of line buses to electricity and CNG
After the conversion of the entire 341 bus route in 2016 (note: the bus route has since converted to hybrid along with the Belliard bus depot conversion), bus routes 72, 115 and 126 were equipped with electric buses from 2017 to 2018. Since the end of 2019, bus routes relying on the Lagny and Corentin bus depots have incrementally converted to electricity. They currently operate close to 200 electric buses provided by Bluesbus and HeuliezBus.
Once the entire Créteil depots bus fleet was converted to CNG in 2020 with the operation of 230 CNG-powered buses, the Massy and Bussy depots began equipping their bus routes with over 200 CNG-powered buses provided by Iveco, Heuliez, Man, Scania and Solaris currently in service.
In 2021, the Pleyel and Lilas bus depots are set to welcome their first electric buses as the Nanterre and Thiais bus depots will receive their first CNG-powered buses.
Since 2014 > Purchase of hybrid buses
- As early as 2014, every new call for tenders was related to hybrid-, electric- or CNG-powered buses.
2015 – 2017 > Testing, launching of the first studies and the first markets
In order to get better acquainted with an entirely electric technology, testing and studies on all the existing bus and charging system solutions were carried out.
- 2016: conversion of the first standard bus route to electricity with bus route 341 (note: the bus route has since converted to hybrid along with the Belliard bus depot conversion).
- 2017: testing continues with the conversion to electricity of bus routes 115 and 126
- Launching of conversion studies regarding the first electric- and CNG-powered bus depots (Corentin, Lagny and Créteil) and of the call for tenders regarding buses.
2018 – 2025 > Construction site massification and bus fleet deployment
The project is set to become a larger-scale undertaking with the completion of the conversion projects on the 25 remaining bus depots. Up to 15 bus depots will be undergoing works simultaneously.
- 2019: completion of the CNG infrastructure works in Créteil and commissioning of the first electric-powered buses in Lagny and Corentin. Signature of the first contracts for the mass deployment of electric- and CNG-powered buses.
- 2021: completion of the electric site projects in Pleyel and Lilas as well as the CNG site projects in Thiais and Nanterre. Signature of the latest bus provision contracts.
- 2022 to 2024: completion of the electrical infrastructure in Lebrun, Malakoff, Point-du-jour, Croix-Nivert, Vitry, Asnières and Neuilly as well as the CNG infrastructure in Pavillons, Aubervilliers, Flandres, Ivry Fontenay-aux-Roses, Saint-Denis, Saint-Maur and Villiers-le-Bel. RATP will deploy nearly 500 new buses every year.
Development of a biogas activity
In agreement with Île-de-France Mobilités, our Créteil bus depot will be fully converted to NGV (natural gas for vehicles) in 2019, with a capacity of 255 biogas buses. The depot already accommodates 140 buses, all powered by BioNGV since 1 June 2015.