The Rouen municipality in northern France is converting 49 diesel intercity buses to electric drive to operate as school buses. The project was awarded to a French consortium consisting of Greenmot, Forsee Power, SPL Normandie and Comeca.
Greenmot will supply the retrofit kit, which will use batteries from Forsee Power’s Zen Slim product line and will be installed at a factory in Villefranche-sur-Saône. SPL Normandie will integrate the conversion kits into the buses, and Comeca will supply the charging infrastructure for the converted buses. This is the first French association of municipalities to launch a tender for the conversion of diesel buses to electric buses.
The 49 Iveco Crossways buses will be used on the “Astuce” school route network. A test vehicle will be delivered by the end of 2023 and all the converted buses will be in service by 2025. The consortium claims that Greenmot’s retrofit kit allows for the electrification of diesel vehicles at a cost similar to buying a used vehicle.
“This is a strong signal for Greenmot which validates the positioning taken in 2020 with the GREEN-eBUS project supported by ADEME and the technical developments we have carried out over the past 12 months on the first prototypes,” explained Stéphane Londos, founding president of Greenmot.
As of 2020, France has around 69,000 coaches in operation, with half of them being over five years old. In March of that year, a government decree allowed for retrofitting of vehicles older than five years without the need for approval from the original manufacturers, making it possible for large-scale conversions.
Mayor of Rouen and President of Métropole Rouen Normandie, Nicolas Mayer-Rossignol, stated that they have set ambitious goals to have at least 50% of the bus fleet, including 100% of Transport est-ouest rouennais, made up of low-emission vehicles. Retrofitting is a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution that allows fleet operators to fully utilize the lifespan of existing vehicles and quickly convert fossil-fuelled vehicles to zero emissions.