A fleet of (at least) 56 bi-articulated battery-powered buses coupled with ground-based charging system. The Île-de-France region and the transport authority Île-de-France Mobilités have chosen an innovative public transport solution provided by a consortium made of Van Hool, Kiepe Electric and Alstom consortium (suppliers of e-buses, traction system plus batteries and charging system respectively).

The news was announced in October 2021. Now the three companies are spreading some more details on this contract.

E-BRT lines in Paris, a world premiere

This solution, which will be a world première, as mentioned above is composed of 24-metre long, bi-articulated Van Hool electric buses, powered by Kiepe Electric’s high-power fast-charging batteries which will be charged by Alstom’s conductive ground-based static charging system (SRS). The framework contract includes a minimum of 56 vehicles

The solution from the Van Hool – Kiepe Electric – Alstom consortium is intended for the T Zen 4 and T Zen 5 high service bus lines (running on dedicated bus lanes) in the south of Paris, as well as a third line in option.

The T Zen 4 BRT line will cover the 14.8-kilometer distance between Viry-Chatillon and Corbeil- Essonnes. The new line will replace the existing 402 line, which is the busiest line in the Paris metropolitan area, transporting nearly 26,000 passengers every day. The T Zen 5 line is a new 9.5-kilometer bus route connecting Paris-13 with Choisy-le-Roi via Ivry-sur-Seine and Vitry-sur-Seine. 

Van Hool, Kiepe Electric and Alstom for Île-de-France

The 24-metre long, bi-articulated, 100% electric Exqui.City 24 vehicles built by Van Hool meet high expectations in terms of passenger comfort and ease of operation (a recent contract was awarded from Nobina). The buses will be able to carry approximately 140 passengers each (compared to 70 for a conventional bus and 100 for an 18-metre articulated bus) in optimal conditions of comfort and modernity: space, lighting, air-conditioning, video surveillance, real-time visual and audio passenger information. The vehicles are fully accessible to people with reduced mobility (PRM), thanks to wide sliding doors and low floor, which will make it easier for passengers to get on and off the bus at the station and to move around inside the bus. 

Operation is facilitated and optimised by very fast vehicle recharging thanks to Alstom’s conductive ground-based static charging system (SRS) interfaced with an on-board energy system from Kiepe Electric. 

Kiepe Electric delivering electric equipment

Kiepe Electric is supplying the traction system for two driven axles in each vehicle. The scope of the order also includes traction batteries, auxiliary power converters and cooling systems, as well as power distribution units (high-voltage distribution). In addition, the company is providing the onboard software for energy management and traction drive control.

Other Knorr-Bremse Group components will also be installed, including screw-type compressors from Knorr-Bremse and brake resistors from Heine Resistors. Kiepe Electric will ensure a very high level of operational reliability using a cloud-based data application that measures consumption, routing, and performance parameters. This operating data will be collected by the company’s Artificial Intelligence-based Smart Fleet Management (SFM) system for subsequent transfer to the operating company’s base station via Kiepe Fleet Management (KFM). 

Alstom SRS conductive charging system: interoperability!

Alstom is providing the conductive ground-based static charging system (SRS). It is an innovative and interoperable technology for electric transport, buses, and trams, of all brands and sizes. As a compact solution, SRS blends invisibly into the cityscape. SRS ensures safe, automated, and fast high-power charging at stops and line terminals.

This solution is already in use on 15 kilometres of tramway tracks in Nice, where it allows automatic and fast in-station recharging with no additional constraints for operations and with ground-breaking availability (>99.9%). SRS is designed by Alstom in Vitrolles, a world centre of excellence for ground power solutions. Alstom’s catenary-free systems are reliable and proven with over 15 years of commercial service in France and internationally. For the T Zen 4 and T Zen 5 project, Alstom will engineer the charging systems, as well as supply the equipment, install, commission, and provide warranty. The framework agreement also includes a service level agreement on reliability and availability of the bus and charging system. 

Van Hool, Kiepe Electric, Alstom for Paris

Filip Van Hool, CEO of Van Hool, commented on this announcement: “We are happy and proud that Van Hool, in close collaboration with partners Kiepe Electric and Alstom, has been selected by Île-de-France Mobilités for the realization of this unique mobility project in Île-de-France. The future of public transport is zero emission. This solution, a world first, fully meets the high expectations of the transport authority, the drivers and maintenance staff, and passengers, for quality public transport that is sustainable and economically responsible.” 

Peter Radina, Member of the Management Board of Knorr-Bremse Rail Vehicle Systems and responsible for Kiepe Electric GmbH in the Knorr-Bremse Group, observes that “For this project, Île-de-France Mobilités has put its faith in our highly experienced consortium and innovative High-Power Charging (HPC) concept for buses. For Kiepe Electric, this successful bid is a milestone, and heralds our entry into the mass transit market for e-BRT lines.” 

“Alstom’s teams in France are proud to contribute to the realisation of an innovative and sustainable mobility solution for Île-de-France Mobilités, alongside our partners, with our conductive ground-based static charging system, SRS. This solution will be a world first and will offer a high level of service with great ease of operation. It will also benefit from the experience of the Nice tramway, where SRS was deployed and put into service on 15 km and 34 trams”, commented Jean-Baptiste Eyméoud, President of Alstom in France.

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