The first VDL Citea SLFA-180 Electric was recently put in service in Orléans, France. For both the carrier, Keolis Métropole Orléans, and the Orléans metropolitan region this is the first electric VDL bus to be used on various busy lines in the city. Keolis intends to gain experience with electric bus service by deploying the articulated e-bus on a number of different city lines. As a 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,” says 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 169 kWh battery pack. Thanks to the rapid charging concept, the e-bus can be fully charged in 35 minutes via a pantograph with a Heliox 300 kW rapid charger. This is done at the depot in Saint Jean de Braye, located in the north-east of Orléans. This rapid charging concept gives the articulated VDL Citea Electric high operational availability, making the e-bus available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with the exception of brief interim charging periods. After a charging session the bus can drive over 100 kilometres in one stretch.
The Citea SLFA-180 Electric is fully customized according to the wishes of Keolis Métropole Orleans. The interior is equipped with stainless steel standing poles, and the seats are upholstered with luxurious royal blue velour. The seats were specially designed for the public transport in Orléans and, along with the blue ambient lighting, contribute to the modern look of the vehicle. With an electrically operated wheelchair platform, a safe wheelchair space and special, comfortable seats, the articulated e-bus is also perfectly accessible 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 and recent commissioning of the first VDL Citea SLFA-180 Electric for France. The ambition of the Orléans metropolitan region is to have all public bus transport emission-free by 2024, thus amply meeting the environmental requirements of the French government.
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 some 750 people, including 485 bus and tram drivers, who transport 36 million passengers a year on the TAO bus and tram network in 22 municipalities of the Orléans metropolitan area. Keolis Métropole Orléans sees it as its mission to provide customers with the highest quality service and use its expertise to make a significant contribution to the dynamics of the metropolitan region.
The core activities of VDL Bus & Coach consist of the development, manufacturing, sales and after-sales of a wide range of buses, coaches and chassis modules, the conversion or extension of mini & midi buses and the purchase and sales of second-hand buses. VDL Bus & Coach consists of multiple bus companies that operate cooperatively in the global market. Manufacturing takes place in the Netherlands and Belgium. VDL Bus & Coach places aspects such as quality, safety, durability, comfort, the environment, low fuel consumption and low maintenance costs in high regard.