47 fuel cell buses are expected to be tendered, with deployment by end 2023 in Ile-de-France region, according to French weekly newspaper Le Journal du dimanche. The procurement requires an investment of 48 million euros. Currently seven hydrogen buses are deployed in the region, in the framework of a pilot launched in 2019. In 2021 a quick pilot with the CaetanoBus H2.City Gold was carried out.
In Paris region new e-BRT lines are going to be launched, with innovative ground-based charging system. Bluebus is expected to deliver up to 158 electric buses in Paris, following the maxi tender awarded in 2019 and the 2021 framework agreement just signed for a maximum period of 4 years. Anyhow, in spring two fire episodes led RATP to recall the fleet.
In April 2022 Oblibus, a financing package offered by Banque des Territoires in partnership with the European Investment Bank, announced it is supporting Île-de-France Mobilités and the RATP with €23 million for the acquisition of 100% electric buses and charging infrastructure.
Fuel cell buses for Paris region
As widely known, the region is targeting a low and zero emission development with the goal of reaching 2025 with only full electric or biogas-powered buses in the fleet (4,700 buses). Now, fuel cell technology steps in the match: Stéphane Beaudet, vice-president of the Region in charge of transport and sustainable mobility, is quoted as saying: “We need to test all possible alternatives in order to further strengthen our energy mix. And thus not to depend on a single source of supply”.
Laurent Probst, Managing Director of IDFM, told to Le Journal du Dimanche: “It’s time to move on to a larger scale. Hence the signal sent to manufacturers by this first call for bids: improve the technology, bring it to maturity, produce in series and we will be there”.
The vehicles are set to be running on green hydrogen. One of the sources, the French media says, will be “the Créteil incinerator, that is due to produce 500 kilos of hydrogen from waste next year, a fuel that will then be used by the new IDFM fleet. Two other refuelling sites are being planned in the Vallée Sud Grand Paris area (92), in Châtenay-Malabry and Bagneux”.
Hydrogen will be supplied also by HysetCo at Porte de Saint-Cloud (16th arrondissement). “One tonne will be produced every day by electrolysis of water; it will be the largest production and distribution station in Europe for low-carbon, storable energy,” is quoted as saying the president Loïc Voisin.