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Paris gears up for e-bus future, with China's help

Toni Waterman in Paris


In the evolution of green technology, electric buses aren't exactly new. They've been gracing the streets of many global cities for years. But a new bus being rolled out in the greater Paris region is a first of its kind and could revolutionize mass transit.

Called the T Zen 4, this electric bus has one major advantage over its rivals: it takes less than five minutes to fully recharge. An innovative fast charging system on the ground means the bus simply needs to drive over it to recharge. And with stations scattered along its route, the T Zen 4 can stay on the road for much longer than other electric buses.‌

The revolutionary buses have superpowers./ CGTN Europe
The revolutionary buses have superpowers./ CGTN Europe

The revolutionary buses have superpowers./ CGTN Europe

"We're trying to encourage everyone who travels, which represents 43 million journeys a day in the greater Paris region, to use public transport," said Stephane Beaudet, Vice-president of Mobility for the Ile-de-France region of the capital. "We're trying to move our public transport towards decarbonization, to fight against the use of personal cars and get people to use buses, trains and trams."


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Beaudet said the advantage of ground recharging is that it's discreet, can't be damaged and is safe over the entire journey - an issue at the forefront of commuters' minds after two electric buses caught fire in Paris in 2022.

Beaudet and his team aim to have a 100 percent clean bus fleet in the greater Paris region by the end of the decade.


France and China work together to fight climate change

The transportation sector is by far the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in France, accounting for about 30 percent of its yearly total. And while advancements in battery technology will play a role in reducing CO2 emission, experts say France needs to work with its global partners - including China - to reach its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.

‌"If France decided to reduce its emissions alone, it won't solve the climate problems," said Philippe Ciais, Research Director at the Laboratory Sciences of Climate and the Environment at the Institute Pierre-Simon Laplace. "We have to talk to China and we have to work with China in order to solve this global problem."

In November, China and France launched a Carbon Neutrality Center. The virtual initiative will fund joint research to advance green technologies, especially in agriculture and biodiversity.

"I think it's important to have this kind of dialogue and joint research," said Ciais. "For instance, France and China are both counting on forests to absorb carbon dioxide. The forests in China are young. They have been planted over the last 20 years. So the question is how much can we continue to rely on forest plantation and carbon sequestration to reach neutrality? There are a lot of common topics of interest that we need to address by joint research."

Partnerships have also been formed in the private sector. French energy management giant Schneider Electric is working with over 200 suppliers in China to help them halve their CO2 emissions by next year.

"A lot of our research and development teams for electric mobility - for electric vehicle charging - are in China," said Phillip Lund, eMobility Field Test Leader at Schneider Electric. "So we have investments and teams in both countries working together and working with our customers and suppliers in both countries."

China and France are both working towards carbon neutrality - a global problem that requires a global response.

Paris gears up for e-bus future, with China's help

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