First French Citea Electric is operating on the TAO bus and tram network in 22 municipalities of the Orléans metropolitan area
The first VDL Citea SLFA-180 Electric was recently put into service by Keolis Métropole Orléans in Orléans, France.
Keolis intends to gain experience with electric bus operation by deploying the articulated bus on a number of different city routes.
As system supplier, VDL Bus & Coach is also responsible for the installation, implementation and maintenance of the charging station.
“We are very proud of the confidence Keolis Métropole Orléans has placed in VDL Bus & Coach as a transition partner to zero-emission bus transport,” said Jérôme Gendre, Managing Director VDL Bus & Coach France.
“As a system supplier, VDL has gained important experience in recent years as a transition partner for leading E-Mobility projects in the Netherlands, Germany and Scandinavia, among other countries.
“We are delighted to now also have the opportunity to help make bus transport more sustainable in Orléans, France.”
The VDL Citea SLFA-180 Electric is equipped with a 169kWh battery pack.
Thanks to the rapid charging concept, it can be fully charged in 35 minutes via a pantograph with a Heliox 300kW rapid charger.
This is done at the depot in Saint Jean de Braye, located in the north-east of Orléans.
This means the bus has high operational availability apart from brief interim charging periods.
After a charging session the bus can drive over 100km.
The bus delivered to Keolis Métropole Orléans has a saloon specified by the operator that includes stainless steel stanchions and seats upholstered in royal blue velour.
The seats were specially designed for the public transport in Orléans and, along with blue ambient lighting, contribute to the modern look of the vehicle, says VDL.
With an electrically-operated wheelchair platform, a safe wheelchair space and special, comfortable seats, the vehicle is also designed for people with reduced mobility.
The French government wants to drastically reduce the consumption of fossil fuels by 2030.
This objective is part of the Energy Transition Act adopted by the French Parliament in 2015.
In order to achieve this objective, it is necessary to electrify a large part of the public transport in France.
Keolis Métropole Orléans started testing various electric buses from different suppliers back in 2017.
After a positive test phase, this ultimately led to the delivery of this bus.
The ambition of the Orléans metropolitan region is to have all public bus transport emission-free by 2024.
Keolis is a major public passenger transport operator worldwide and is present in 15 countries, including France.
Keolis Métropole Orléans, a subsidiary of Keolis Group, employs around 750 people, including 485 bus and tram drivers, who transport 36m passengers a year on the TAO bus and tram network in 22 municipalities of the Orléans metropolitan area.