RATP Group, the public transportation company that serves Paris and its surrounding communities, has plans in place to retire all 4,700 conventional buses in its fleet and replace them with zero or ultra low emissions vehicles by 2025. RATP is a huge operation, with 60,000 employees and more than £6 billion a year in revenue.
After a year of taking bids and consulting with manufacturers, it has awarded a €400 million contract for the first 800 electric buses. The order will be split equally among three French bus manufacturers — Heuliez, Alstom, and Bolloré according to Le Parisien.
The electric buses will all be standard 12-meter long vehicles. The first 150 buses are due to enter service before the end of 2020. RATP has already installed chargers for electric buses at 12 of its 25 bus servicing areas and will convert the rest going forward so it will have the infrastructure in place to charge its fleet of zero emissions buses when needed. The buses will be paid for with funds provided by Ile-de-France Mobilités, the regional public transportation authority.
IDFM is also planning to add 641 electric and natural gas powered buses to service the communities surrounding Paris. The gas powered vehicles will operate on bio-gas rather than conventional gas derived from wells. Those buses will cost an additional €200 million and will be delivered between 2020 and 2021. Those buses will be shared by the 11 transportation companies that service those communities, starting first with those that have already converted their maintenance facilities to electric charging and bio-gas equipment.
Sharp eyed readers will notice that all the new vehicles will be made by French manufacturers, a signal that clean transportation may be desirable but political considerations are still important when it comes to determining who gets the business. BYD and other Chinese companies may make world class electric buses but the only ones plying the roadways in and around Paris will be made in France.