Belgian bus manufacturer Van Hool from Koningshooikt (Lier) may build at least 56 tram-buses that will run in Paris. The electric vehicles will be charged using an in-built fast-charging system. A world-first, says the company. Van Hool is working on this with French Alstom and German Kiepe Electric.
The consortium, where Van Hool is the main contractor, won a public tender for two express bus lines in the south of Paris and the third line under option. One of the lines will replace the current busiest line in the Paris conurbation, line 402, which carries almost 26 000 passengers daily.
Bus Rapid Transit
The 56 electric double-legged vehicles, 24 meters long (type Exqui.City) and with room for 140 passengers, will be built in Koningshooikt, confirms Van Hool spokesperson Dirk Snauwaert. The vehicles will be used on express bus routes or Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines running on special bus lanes in the Île-de-France region.
They will be powered by high-capacity fast-charging batteries from Kiepe Electric, while Alstom will provide the static charging system (SRS) via ground guidance. These are plates in the ground used to charge the vehicles immediately when they come to a halt at stops and line terminals.
‘A world’s first’
“The future of public transport is zero-emission. This solution, a world’s first, fully meets the high expectations of the transport authority, the drivers, maintenance staff, and passengers, for quality public transport that is sustainable and economically responsible,” said Van Hool CEO Filip Van Hool.
The company will not comment on the value of the contract.
Koningshooikt and Skopje
SRS was already deployed and put into service by Alstom on 15 km and 34 trams in Nice. It is designed by Alstom in Vitrolles, a center for ground power solutions.
Bus and coach manufacturer Van Hool, with a 3 500 staff worldwide, most of whom work at the production facilities in Koningshooikt and Skopje (North Macedonia), recently also signed a contract to deliver 21 double-articulated, battery-electric tram-buses. The 21 emission-free vehicles are destined for public transport in the Swedish city of Malmö as of mid-2022.