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RATP’s Bus 2025 Plan

Posted: 2 September 2015 | Marie-Claude Dupuis, Head of the Bus Rolling Stock Department, RATP

RATP has a green vision for the future. Head of the Bus Rolling Stock Department, Marie-Claude Dupuis, explains that in order to meet these goals by 2025, the public transport operator is hugely investing in sustainable buses that will help reduce RATP’s carbon footprint by 50%…

RATP’s Bus 2025 Plan

We have clear intentions for RATP to become a global reference in its sector in terms of sustainable development. Being a public transport operator, RATP already contributes greatly to a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in the Paris region but we want to go even further; this is the reason why, in 2014, RATP committed to a major technological and ecological change: to have a 100% green bus fleet by 2025. This is the ‘Bus 2025 Plan’. This plan is in line with the Paris Region Urban Travel Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Paris region by 20%. It also coincides with the ambitions of the STIF transport authority to eliminate all diesel buses from the Paris region bus network.

The target for 2025 is to have a fleet comprising approximately 80% electric buses and 20% vehicles using renewable gas and non-fossil fuels – thus wiping out the diesel buses from the Parisian network.

Currently, manufacturers don’t yet offer electric buses that meet the operational imperatives of the Parisian bus network. So, in the meantime, we decided to stop ordering diesel buses and switched to hybrid technology.

By launching an energy transition of this magnitude, which will involve 4,500 buses, we intend to send a strong message to the vehicle manufacturers in the transport sector. Indeed, the renewal of the entire fleet offers significant prospects and should encourage investment in research and development as well as in industrial tools. We are confident that our Bus 2025 Plan will give the manufacturers the push necessary to bring their electric technology up to speed and that they’ll be ready by 2025.

As for RATP, the renewal of our entire bus fleet means radical transformations of our industrial facilities – i.e. bus depots, energy supply system etc.

The plan follows the following three phases:

  1. 2014: consolidation of the share of hybrid buses in the RATP bus fleet; from now on, all new tenders apply to hybrid, electrical and CNG buses
  2. 2015–2017 : test of all existing electrical bus technologies and recharge systems; setting-up of the programme to adapt bus depots
  3. 2017–2025 : launch of tenders for a mass roll-out of electric and biogas buses

Ultimately, the Bus 2025 Plan will reduce RATP’s carbon footprint by 50%.

Phase 1

In order not to wait until 2025 to start reducing our carbon footprint and to give time to the industry to meet all the requirements for electric buses, RATP and the STIF transport authority have already taken certain actions: a decision was made to put an end to diesel buses. From now on, no more diesel buses are being ordered. All new orders concern hybrid, electric and CNG buses. So far, 383 hybrid buses have been ordered and 46 hybrid buses are already in operation on the RATP network. In 2015, 200 more hybrid buses will be ordered. By mid-2016, a total of 550 hybrid buses will be acquired. This solution ensures a reduction in fuel consumption of 20% to 30% depending on the size and operating conditions of the vehicle. Hybrid buses also reduce sound pollution as well as vibrations inside the vehicle. However, the additional acquisition expense is still significant (approximately 60%).

Phase 2

The large-capacity electric buses technology is still in its early stages. This is why, as part of Bus 2025 Plan, we launched a major programme of experiments to test electric buses in real-life conditions (with passengers, on full-length lines). The tests will start in 2016.

Firstly, with approval from the STIF transport authority, we will run the first 100% electric standard buses on a regular line at the beginning of 2016. These buses will be manufactured by BlueBus, a subsidiary of the Bolloré group. They will charge overnight at depots and can travel up to 180km on one single charge. This was an absolute requirement, as recharge stations along the bus itinerary would cost too much in terms of infrastructures.

These 12m-long electric buses can transport 90 passengers, the same as current standard buses. Having a standard bus circulating on a full-length line will be a European first.

The line that will host the 20 electric standard BlueBus vehicles will be Line 341. The STIF elected this line that connects Porte de Clignancourt to Place Charles de Gaulle-Etoile, via Saint-Ouen and Clichy suburbs, because its buses are parked in a bus depot that already houses electric mini-buses (RATP operates two short electric lines, including the Montmartrobus) thus the time needed to adapt the facilities will be considerably shortened. The first electric BlueBus buses will arrive at the beginning of 2016.

This contract will amount to between €10 million €40 million, co-funded by STIF and RATP.

RATP, the STIF transport authority and the Bolloré group will present the first 100% electric standard bus to the public at the COP 21 conference, the Framework Convention on Climate Change hosted in Paris in November 2015. On a proposal from the STIF transport authority, the experiment has been selected by the European Union to participate in the ZeEUS project (Zero Emission Urban Bus System; a European programme under the UITP intended to impel the introduction of electric buses in cities).

Secondly, we want to test as many of the technologies available on the market as possible so as to secure our experience in operating and maintaining these types of vehicles and to prepare a large-scale tender that will kick-start the electrification of the RATP bus fleet. We have one requirement: all of the vehicles tested must have a battery life that can last a distance of 180km. Later on, we will ask the manufacturers to provide buses that have a battery life that can last up to 250km. The following four candidates already came forward to lend out standard buses in order for us to test them on actual routes:

  • Chinese Yutong – associated with Alsace-based Dietrich Carebus and bus manufacturer world leader, claims a 340km autonomy without A/C and 250km with A/C
  • Netherlands-based Ebusco announces a 300km autonomy for its buses
  • Spanish Irizar with a bus that has an autonomy of 250km for a five hour charge
  • Polish Solaris.

All of these manufacturers accepted to share, with RATP, the technical data gathered during this experiment.

These buses will be in operation from the second semester of 2016. Two routes, with a very different profile, have been selected: routes 21 and 147. Route 21 goes through the heart of Paris in a very dense area and route 147 is a suburb-only route that goes from Pantin to Sevran in the North of Paris.

Thanks to these experiments, we will be able to analyse precious feedback on subjects like the performance of the drive train (batteries, motors) and charging systems, the consequences of the new technology on operations (impact on drivers, passengers, etc.) and maintenance (equipment reliability, power supply of the bus depots, etc.).

In addition to those real-life tests on rolling-stock and batteries, anticipating the renewal of the bus fleet, we are getting ready to adapt its 25 bus depots and connect them to the electricity grid. Therefore, RATP and EDF (the French supplier of electricity) signed in 2014 a three-year partnership to address all connection-issues (trials on different drive trains, batteries, and charging systems) and their impact on the electric network.

We will also be able to tap into our experience in electrical energy transformation and distribution (for the tramway, metro and RER networks) and our long standing relationships with RTE and ErDF – French transmission system operators. The goal is to address connection issues with the ErDF grid and/or RATP network and to develop the electrical architecture in each bus depot to transform and distribute electrical energy to the approximate 200 buses on average in each depot.

In 2025, the rest of the bus fleet (20% of the 4 500 buses) will run on natural gas. This issue is less problematic since the gas technology is already well-developed. What we will need to do is to adapt our bus depots for gas refuelling. In order to do so, RATP and Engie (former GDF Suez), French gas supplier, have signed a partnership to imagine solutions for the supply of some of the RATP bus depots with natural gas. Next year, some 140 vehicles will be fuelled using biogas.

Phase 3

After analysing what the market has to offer, and what is best suited for our network, RATP, alongside with the STIF transport authority, will launch mass tenders for electric and biogas buses. It is our belief that the critical size of our tender will allow for a decrease of the production costs. By 2025, all of our entire 4,500 bus fleet will have finished its energy transition.

RATP: a company that focuses on sustainable development as a whole

RATP’s commitments to attenuating climate change apply to other areas than the bus fleet.

RATP intends to generally reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption by 25% per passenger kilometre by 2020 (compared with 2004 figures). To achieve this goal, RATP is implementing action plans to ensure more effective energy usage and to improve its carbon footprint.

A good example is what the company does with rail rolling stock. Now, all purchases of new rail rolling stock (tramways, metros or interurban trains-RER) include clauses concerning energy economy and efficiency in the traction and auxiliaries. The modernisation of the rolling stock on RER Lines A and B and Metro Lines 2, 5 and 9 will reduce traction energy consumption by 25%–35%.

The driverless metro, in which the RATP Group is both a pioneer and world leader since service began on Line 14 and the automation of Paris Metro Line 1, not only ensures greater service quality, but also substantial energy savings with over 15% less energy used compared to a conventional line, as well as a significant reduction in particle emissions.

The RATP Group is also on the way to becoming the world leader in tramway services (with nearly 100km of tramway lines in the Paris region), an ecological mode of transport par excellence, which is also particularly silent and releases very little CO2 into the air.

RATP also has high goals when it comes to its infrastructures; continuing the re-lamping programme in all stations to install LED lamps that will reduce lighting energy consumption by 50%. In 2016, the public transport network exploited by RATP in the Paris region will be the first network in the world to be fully-equipped with LED lighting.

RATP is also committed to reducing energy consumption in all of its secondary buildings by 40% between 2006 and 2020. The reduction by over 60% in energy consumption at the 56,000m² Head-Office between 2007 and 2013 is one of the most significant examples of actions launched to ensure economical energy usage.

Biography

Marie-Claude Dupuis was appointed Head of the Bus Rolling Stock Department of RATP in January 2015. Prior to joining RATP, Marie-Claude Dupuis was Executive Director at Andra (National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management) for 10 years. She has always been very much involved in environment, safety, security and quality issues. She started her career at the Région Centre Office for Industry and Research where she was in charge of the supervision of the nuclear facilities. She then spent six years at the Ministry of Industry in the Department of Industrial Strategies, where she was in charge of the security and quality of industrial products. In 1998, she joined the Department for the Prevention of Pollution and Major Hazards within the Ministry of the Environment, where she served as Chief of the Environmental Risks Branch until 2005. Marie-Claude studied engineering at Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole des Mines.

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