A world first: the first electrical bus with unlimited range and no heavy infrastructure runs at Nice-Côte d’Azur Airport

Published on 07/11/2014 at 15:00 • Updated on 07/11/2014 at 18:03

Nice, 7 November 2014 - Since last 17 October, the first "opportunity charging" electrical bus with unlimited range, equipped with PVI's WATT system, is being tested at Nice Cote d'Azur airport, linking terminals 1 and 2.

Watt System

In line with its initiatives in favour of the environment to reduce nuisance and pollution while reducing its climatic footprint, Nice Cote d'Azur airport is testing the first "opportunity charging" electrical bus.
Supported Nice Cote d'Azur's airport passenger transport operator Transdev, developed and patented by PVI, and funded by the ADEME, the French Environment and Energy Management Agency, this project concerns an ultra-fast charging system that supplies the bus on its journey, offering an environmentally friendly solution and low pollutant emission. From an environmental point of view, the WATT System enables the complete elimination of fine particles and prevents the emission of more than 43 tonnes of CO2 just during the trial period on a line such as that at Nice Cote d'Azur airport.
The major innovation of the WATT System is the vehicle’s opportunity charging, which consists in supplying power from the bus stop pole (Totem) to the vehicle while passengers alight and get on. The WATT System makes it possible to overstep the limits imposed by battery-powered electric vehicles in terms of range and passenger capacity, while minimizing the urban infrastructure and energy requirements.

How it works

Bras robotisé - Watt System

At each stop, during the passenger exchange time, i.e. approximately 20 seconds, a robotic arm on the bus roof automatically hooks up to an energy accumulator totem mounted on the urban furniture and powered by the existing electrical grid.
Once this is done, the bus battery will allow it to travel up to 800 meters, making it possible to reach the next stop where it will recharge again.

For Dominique Thillaud, Chairman of the Executive Board of Aéroports de la Côte d'Azur, "incorporating the WATT System technology at Nice Cote d'Azur airport is a strong move in favour of innovation, one of our company's key concerns, and is naturally in line with our environmental policy, promoting future investments that are both economically wise, responsible and in favour of society. Aéroports de la Côte d’Azur is proud to test this world premiere between French partners, which underscores the excellence of our transport sector industry."

For Laurence Broseta, France Transdev Director, "as a mobility operator, we must play a leading role in the energy transition. We contribute to it on a daily basis, by providing high quality public and private transport services, whose appeal will promote behavioural changes. For technological diversity and the transition to cleaner energies, we are implementing innovative and promising projects with the local communities whose mobility policy we support. Being involved in the testing of the WATT System with Nice Cote d'Azur airports and seeing the culmination of a wonderful piece of teamwork, which was successful thanks to the dedicated energy of the people involved, is extremely encouraging and stimulating. We will be able to test the system's usability and contribute to its development."


It is also the first trial in France in actual operating conditions on vehicles using opportunity charging. Transdev, a committed participant in the energy transition, whose long experience in multimodal management, operation of electrical mini- and midi-buses, new engine technologies including hybrids, eco-driving and the development of regional infrastructure, provides local authorities with solutions that take into consideration the conditions of use, operation, maintenance and financing of their public transport networks. Transdev supports innovative national and European projects in partnership with SMEs and start-up companies, celebrating French excellence in the field of transport to encourage the development of the mobilities of the future.