COMECA Supports Smart Charging for Electric Buses in Strasbourg Area

In order to continue the energy transition of public transport in the Strasbourg district, the Compagnie des Transports Strasbourgeois (CTS) has called upon COMECA to assist it in the acquisition of 100% electric buses for its fleet.

In October 2021, the district of Strasbourg officially adopted the implementation of a Low Emission Zone (ZFE) in order to progressively eliminate the most polluting vehicles in the 33 communes composing the metropolitan area. (Source: France 3 Grand Est)

COMECA Electric Buses
COMECA support smart charging for Electric Buses in the Strasbourg Area

For its public transport, the district is proceeding with its energy transition and is turning to electric vehicles in addition to natural gas.

The Elsau depot of the CTS is home to this new fleet of electric buses while continuing to use natural gas. This depot, with more than 50 electric buses serves 7 bus lines in the Strasbourg area, 3 of which are operated exclusively with electric buses.

1. A Scalable and Sustainable Charging Solution

The charging stations chosen are expandable to meet the growing need for public transportation in the region and to meet the challenge of a cleaner city and transportation that is accessible to the greatest number of users, regardless of the neighbourhood.

Initially, AMBER 1 50kW terminals were chosen to meet the current needs and battery capacities of the buses in the fleet.

In 2019, 27 terminals were acquired by the CTS to be put into service in 2020. Subsequently, 45 additional terminals joined the equipment already in place for commissioning in 2021.

The charging stations are already equipped to double their power. Thus, as soon as the CTS wishes it, it will be possible to charge buses with even more capacity, or to charge buses even faster than in 5 hours to recover 100% of charge.

COMECA’s charging stations comply with current European standards and are interoperable with all brands. The CTS can equip itself with several different brands of buses (APTIS from ALSTOM, IRIZAR,…).

Thanks to this solution, Strasbourg benefits from operational flexibility for its current operations, but above all from a long-term support commitment whatever the evolution of their needs in the coming years.

The transformation of a bus depot to electric power must be considered in the long term. To have this vision, the total cost of ownership is a good indicator. In this project, it allowed us to offer the best CAPEX/OPEX ratio thanks to the OPEX savings achieved with the COMECA solution. Thus, the CTS has control over its investments for the next 20 years.

COMECA Electric Buses
COMECA charging station

2. The Choice of Smart Charging to Ensure the Availability of Electric Buses

In the era of the development of electric mobility, smart charging is an important solution to be implemented in order to optimise the charging of an electric vehicle, manage the charging power while controlling the costs related to energy consumption.
For professionals such as electric bus depot managers, smart charging is an asset for maximising the use of charging stations, efficiently managing the charging and ensuring the availability of the electric fleet.

The Compagnie des Transports Strasbourgeois understood very early on the importance and details of their needs in terms of Smart Charging. The conclusion of their search for a solution was quickly limited by offers too oriented to light vehicle operation. Indeed, the smart charging needs for heavy vehicles, and especially buses, are very different.

The Compagnie des Transports Strasbourgeois entrusted COMECA teams with the customised development of a complete charging supervision and Smart Charging solution.

Since its implementation, Smart Charging has proven itself and demonstrated the need for such a system. The solution ensures:

  • Monitoring of the loads in progress
  • The planning of loads synchronised with their scheduling software
  • Control of the available electrical power in the fleets and the proper distribution of the load
  • Clear reporting of load costs

To understand in detail the benefits of Smart Charging for electric buses, read our dedicated article.

3. Service/On-call Support by COMECA

In order to ensure the continuity of service  of its installation, our customer subscribes to our annual full-maintenance contract (preventive and corrective). We have trained a dedicated team of 2 people close to our customer, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
We have created a digitalised customer profile to interact with them in real time: Digital Platform with a dedicated profile for the customer.

In case of an alert, our team receives a text message and an email instantly and calls the customer back to advise him, respond to his needs, and even trigger an on-site maintenance intervention if necessary.

The CTS thus benefits from a maintenance agreement giving peace of mind for the next 20 years.

In Summary

Faced with ecological challenges, urban areas and bus operators are increasingly turning to electric buses to equip their fleets.

The CTS has chosen the COMECA solution and support for its electric bus charging stations and now uses smart charging to manage its fleet.

It now benefits from :

  • The operational flexibility and optimisation of the charging of its fleet
  • The scalability of the charging stations to anticipate future needs
  • An optimised management of subscribed power to reduce subscription costs
  • The guaranteed availability of its electric vehicles.

COMECA also provides the service as close as possible to the CTS and supports it in the maintenance of the equipment installed.

This article was originally published by COMECA.

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