Keolis Alpes-Maritimes has launched the electrification of the 19 bus lines it operates in the region.

Keolis Alpes-Maritimes transitions to 100% electric buses

Keolis Alpes-Maritimes has launched the electrification of the 19 bus lines it operates in the region.
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PostedDEC. 19, 2023
Words byKeolis
    Aligned with the Climate Plan’s vision for full decarbonization of regional transport by 2050, Keolis Alpes-Maritimes is making significant progress. The company has decided to electrify the 19 bus lines it operates in the region, making it a groundbreaking initiative in France. This transition of the entire fleet to electric buses will require substantial changes in infrastructure and operational strategies.

    Context: Aiming for zero carbon emissions by 2050  

    Resolutely committed to decarbonization, the Southern Region of France has set a target of achieving carbon neutrality for its public transit by 2050. Collaborating with multiple partners, it has embarked on an expansive program to transition to clean energies.  

    In 2021, Keolis secured two public service delegations for the operation, maintenance and electrification of all 19 bus and coach lines of the ZOU! regional transport network in the Alpes-Maritimes department from 2022 to 2030. This partnership with Keolis underlines the Region’s commitment to environmental stewardship and its capacity for innovation in low-emission transport. 

    Transitioning to electric buses represents a considerable challenge for any transit network. Not only does it involve replacing conventional diesel buses with their electric equivalents, but it also requires a far-reaching transformation that includes both infrastructure and operational strategies. This involves installing charging stations throughout the network, scheduling charging times and operating times for 24-hour periods, maintaining new types of equipment, monitoring networks and equipment, training drivers and more. This shift requires new skills and expertise, including that of equipment manufacturers and charging infrastructure managers as well as the comprehensive experience of a well-rounded team. 

    Electric bus from the ZOU! network
    Electric bus from the ZOU! network
    Marie-Ange Debon

    Marie-Ange Debon

    Chairwoman of the Keolis Group Executive Board

    "We are working closely with the region, with which we share the same vision of public transit as a lever for social cohesion, low-carbon mobility, economic dynamism and strong tourism. Together, we are working to build a cleaner, more sustainable future for the region."

    Innovation: Electrifying a bus network is a large-scale transformation  


    Throughout 2022 and 2023, Keolis and its institutional and technical partners undertook several phases of work to electrify the ZOU! network’s 19 lines: 

    - Site development: Five depots across France and two subcontractors have been equipped with charging systems, ensuring network cohesion. Pantographs were installed on the main line of the ZOU! network, helping optimize charging and driving cycles to maximize the fleet’s use. 

    - Purchase and commissioning of electric vehicles: During this time, 123 electric buses entered service. An additional 16 double-decker vehicles joined in 2023. 

    - Driver training in electric driving: Drivers underwent rigorous electric vehicle operation training to adjust to new reflexes, new procedures and a new approach to managing electrical energy. 

    - A centralized command post: The digital tool ChargePoint facilitates real-time fleet management, monitoring and energy optimization.  

    Fast-charge pantograph
    Fast-charge pantograph

    A standout innovation is the network’s digitalization through the ChargePoint application. This tool offers centralized command post dispatchers real-time information about vehicle range (related to vehicles’ charge level and kilometers traveled), energy consumption, location, and more besides. Team members can cross-reference this information with external data concerning issues such as obstacles on the road and lane closures to anticipate and work around problem areas.

    Antibes' PCC
    Antibes' PCC
    Inauguration of the ZOU! network's new fleet of electric buses

    Inauguration of the ZOU! network's new fleet of electric buses

    Benefits: A fleet of zero-emission electric buses  

    For Keolis’s 19 routes, the transition to a zero-emission fleet is already a reality as the fleet no longer has any combustion-powered vehicles on the roads. 

    With dozens of buses in circulation, the fleet’s numbers strengthen Keolis’s bargaining power with electricity suppliers. Another benefit of electrifying vehicles is that maintenance operations are less frequent and less costly compared to combustion models.

    Sandrine Boutry

    Sandrine Boutry

    Energy Transition Director at Keolis Alpes-Maritimes

    "In addition to real-time supervision of electric fleets, it is important to understand and analyze the data coming from the buses. Once we have ensured the reliability of the data, the challenge is to analyze it for better energy and economic performance."


    public service delegation contracts for 8 years



    in annual revenue for the ZOU! network


    electric vehicles on the network in 2023




    kilometers traveled annually

    Next steps: Advancing the network’s energy efficiency 


    Moving forward, with its data-rich capabilities able to record a large amount of information, ChargePoint will facilitate extensive data analysis. Teams can explore patterns related to energy consumption per kilometer, the influence of outdoor temperatures as well as driving practices based on energy consumption levels. Combined with the group's expertise, this analysis will help identify efficient vehicle operational models within the ZOU! network and share information and feedback with other networks where electric vehicles have been deployed (Sweden, Amiens...). Keolis Alpes-Maritimes’s pioneering efforts in fleet electrification are setting standards and methods that the broader Keolis Group can replicate.

    ZOU! network electric bus fleet

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