A fleet of 43 new fully electric buses from Irizar have hit the roads in Amiens, northern France. Keolis is now operating the vehicles as part of the four new bus rapid transit (BRT) routes and charges both occasionally and at the depot.
According to the manufacturer, the electric buses are the first in Europe to feature Irizar’s dual charging technology. It consists of overhead charging that enables 40 extra kilometres within 4-5 minutes as well as a slower option for use in the bus depot overnight, which provides 100% charge capacity within 3-4 hours.
The 151 passenger buses are operating on three routes in the city of Amiens, which serve some of the most popular destinations, such as the centre and leisure facilities, as well as residential areas. The move was made as Amiens Métropole and Keolis expect a 28% increase in passengers over the next five years, in part due to the new bus network.
Keolis has prepared for the launch of the electric buses by training 300 staff members to drive the buses, as well as employees to cover the charging and maintenance of the buses. Additionally, the public transport operator decided to opt for a new ticketing system to attract more customers.
Next to the electric buses in Amiens, the Keolis Group is preparing further e-mobility projects, which include electric buses in the tourist hot-spot Bayonne-Biarritz-Anglet, as well as a hydrogen project in Pau, all of which are expected to launch over the next few months. The group is also active internationally, with projects in Canada, Sweden and the Netherlands, next to plans to launch e-mobility projects on the east coast of the USA. They are already operating in North Carolina since January, from where they plan to expand to other large cities and, ultimately, the west coast, where they have already been selected to operate Foothill Transits bus fleet in Los Angeles.
Additional reporting by Nora Manthey.