EcoBatoBus in Toulon: Alternatives Energies Series Hybrid Solution validated

The two EcoShip Buses, the Estello and the Longo Mai have been operated for more than one year by Toulon/Provence/Méditerranée (TPM) conurbation committee. These silent shuttles, 21 meter long, carriyng 98 passengers, looking like the two last diesel shuttles, also designed by BE MAURIC and put into service in 2010, are indeed radically different.

This shuttles are fitted with a propulsion-energy system designed and supplied by Alternatives Energies which was so far specialized into 100% electric propulsion-energy system.

Propulsion includes 2 electric motors which are powered either by a battery pack in a zero emission mode (ZE), either by a generator in a diesel electric mode (DE). In ZE mode, motor are powered by two powerful battery packs, 85 kWh each. The range in this mode is outstanding : in one rotation accross roadstead of Toulon including mooring manoeuvre, so about 50 minutes of sailing, the battery looses only 44% of its charge. This means that the Eco Ship Bus is able to do two rotations in ZE mode, so about 2 hours sailing. The maximum speed on this link is 12 knots, as other ships of the TPM fleet.

Switching between ZE and DE mode is easy, and can only be noticed as the generator starts. Batteries are recharged plugged on the wharf at night and by the generator during the day. This combination allows decreasing CO2 emissions in urban area, and for passengers it provides a quiet environment half of the way. The noise level is around 60 dB in the lounge in ZE mode.

In the intended operation mode, Eco Ship Buses sail half of the operating time, which is 12 hours per day, in zero emission mode, providing passengers and residents with a great comfort. In early January, after one year running, the Estello showed 1350 operating hours with 570 hours in ZE mode. This proves the good use and the success of the ZE mode.

Unlike with some other electric ships, pilots feel that the Estello and the Longo Mai are more powerful and more responsive that their diesel counterpart. Electric motors show a high torque and power is delivered instantly.

The power of the propulsion contrast with the very small energy consumption. At a speed of 12 knots, the Estello or the Longo Mai carry their 98 passengers spending about 105 Wh per kilometer and per passanger. That is 15% less than the last diesel shuttles (called Lou Pitchoun) which are already the most efficient ones of the whole TPM fleet.

Today, there is no hybrid ou electric ferry currently in use that show such an operating range, such a speed, such a reactivity : the efficiency level is unique in France and maybe in Europe.

The crew of the RMTT have played the game and have contributed to the development of the interface between the pilot and the electronic system for energy management. They are now proud to have an efficient and environment friendly tool.

This outstandind success is the result of a close collaboration between three companies involved in the building of hybrid ships :

- BE MAURIC (Marseille and Nantes), dealing with naval architecture and integration

- Alternatives Energies (La Rochelle) for the hydrid energy system and electric propulsion

- The TMI yard (Saint Mandrier) in charge of the building

Such an achievement has been made possible only by the trust and the dynamism of the councilors and of the managers of TPM. With this, TOULON and associated cities, take place at the foreground of eco-technology and of energy transition. Let's hope that this success will lead to similar building.

Jean-Charles NAHON (BE MAURIC) et Philippe PALLU DE LA BARRIERE (Alternatives Energies)