The Amiens Ferris wheel plays its survival role

The Amiens Ferris wheel plays its survival role

The Amiens Ferris wheel plays its survival role

Friday, February 12, 2021 – 19:23

Launched in May 2019, Irizar’s revolutionary Nemo electric bus is experiencing a series of failures. Keolis, manager of the Ametis network, is under pressure, not to mention Amiens Métropole, which has invested 156 million euros in the largest electric fleet in Europe.

This Friday, December 12, 33 Nemo remained in the parking lot of the bus depot in Rivery. It’s better than Thursday when 40 Nemos were left at the depot, 37 on Wednesday. – (Photos: FRED HASLIN)

To know

For this project, Amiens Métropole has invested 156 million euros: 35 for buses, 20 for the depot and 101 in roads, networks, red lights, operating systems and other recharging.

– –

Ten Nemos are rolling this Friday (February 12) for a pace of 20 minutes on their lines. We will be on the same pace on Saturday. Sunday is separate, there is less service. Irizar wants to release two more Nemos per day starting Saturday
», Indicates Éric Patoux, director of Keolis, director of the transport network of Amiens Métropole (Ametis). The thaw will not speed up the pace, ”
it is necessary to purge and check the sensors
», He adds.

He’s under pressure. On Wednesday February 10, 37 Nemos out of 43 remained at the depot in Rivery. Thursday, there were 40! This Friday, February 12, 33. Because the Nemo has a cold. Condensation has frozen in the brake system. Fault ”
weather conditions
», Says Amétis. It’s cold, but it’s not Moscow either!

The Amiens Ferris wheel plays its survival role

The reality is that the Nemo, a jewel of technology, has had a series of setbacks, often pushing it away from the safety threshold to provide service (36 Nemo running out of 43). In July 2019, it was the heatwave that left him on the side. Irizar did not reach the efficiency rate of 85% contracted with the community. Hence financial penalties (2 million euros) for the additional costs generated at Keolis in 2019.

1. Nemo is sensitive

From its launch on May 11, 2019, Irizar’s engineers spent hours under the hoods of the Nemo in the city. This bus has 200 sensors. The slightest weakness (load, steering, etc.) cuts the engine. Irizar was slow to explain it to the drivers, unable to restart the beast. The software used is new. A simple update can crash everything. Hence the interventions of the famous Ametis tow truck.

Irizar has opted for controlled energy: lithium-ion. To move articulated buses of 18.70 meters for 19 tonnes, excluding passengers, four batteries are required slowly charged to 100% at night at the depot, and to 85% in five minutes on the 650 kW jib cranes at the end of the line. There are 12 small 24-volt batteries that power the systems. And there’s plenty: hot / cold air conditioning, camera mirrors, driving position, geolocation, screens for travelers, USB sockets in the seats, ticketing, etc. And if they weaken a bit, the Nemo does not start. ”
And at night, the ticketing transmits the data of the day by wi-fi
», Indicates Éric Patoux.

We remember this Dacia repairing a Nemo avenue de la Paix (Amiens North) at the end of May 2019! There was also a defect in the packs surrounding the four lithium batteries, because they did not insulate them sufficiently. A problem that remains recurrent. Finally, electronic cards acting on traction had to be reviewed across the entire fleet.

2. It’s hard to drive

The drivers trained by executives, themselves trained in Spain, took a long time to master electric driving, to adjust acceleration and braking. Users can testify to this. And that has an impact on consumption. It is also necessary to wedge perfectly under the jib cranes of rapid load. Gallows that fail. The most remarkable was that of November 27, 2019, a software update crashed four out of six, impacting almost the entire network.

The Amiens Ferris wheel plays its survival role

From now on, the drivers run on three batteries, 30% of autonomy is enough to ensure a service, where 40% were imposed. To put it simply, you have to cajole these batteries, under rental and maintenance contract by Amiens Métropole.

3. Faulty chassis

As the outages seemed to subside, premature wear was detected in December 2019 on the chassis. Irizar had to call on a new French subcontractor to take over bad welds! There was great concern among Amiens employees and among the ranks of Amiens Métropole. Union authorities will be alerted. In the end, the entire fleet was checked and the necessary corrections made. This once again impacted the quality of the network.

4. Performance not achieved

The project announced speeds of eight minutes on the three 100% electric lines (the fourth runs on diesel). It is too little achieved. The result of technological glitches and a redone road, which has been corrected several times, but which too often puts the Nemo back in traffic. The Metropolis is also paying for the late delivery of the red light management system.

The objective is an ambitious priority at intersections given to the Nemo (managed directly by the traffic control center). In July 2019, Irizar, Amiens Métropole and Keolis announced a new “graphicage” (organization) to approach the rates as close as possible to eight minutes. They are rare.

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