Is the new Aptis an electric bus or a tram?


Alstom and NTL have presented a new electric public transport vehicle with a unique design. The layout of the new Aptis is based on that of a tram, incorporating low-floor accessibility and 360° views. Two or three large double doors enable easy on-and-off passenger flows and smooth access for wheelchairs and strollers. Aptis has four steerable wheels, so it occupies 25% less surface area in curves, and minimizes the space needed to park at stops.

NTL is now manufacturing Aptis prototypes at its factory in Duppigheim in the Alsace region of France. French transport operator STIF plans to launch two trials in Paris and the Ile-de-France region during the second half of 2017.

Aptis can be charged overnight at a depot, or at the end of each line during daily operations. Fast charging can be done using an inverted pantograph or Alstom’s SRS ground charging system.


Alstom and NTL will provide an entire system, including dimensioning, charging options, road infrastructure, leasing and warranty options.

According to the companies, Aptis’s low maintenance and operation costs, and its longer service life, give it a total cost of ownership equivalent to legacy diesel buses.

“With Aptis, we complete our electric mobility offering and are now able to offer cities a full range of urban solutions,” says Alstom CEO Henri Poupart-Lafarge. “It was a real challenge to create this innovative concept, made possible thanks to NTL’s knowledge of vehicles on tires and Alstom’s expertise in electric traction and system integration.”



Source: Alstom

  • Barry Scott

    Cute, but way too expensive, especially over time.
    Rail is growing in ridership, steadily since 1990, while bus transit is falling.
    Electric buses have higher energy needs, maintenance costs, and they’re useful live is less than half that of rail vehicles. Rail vehicles run on dedicated lines, free of traffic congestion, and rail investment spurs economic growth in ways that bus transit can not.
    These are pretty, but they’re still dirty and inefficient compared to modern streetcars and trams.

    • Ellen Melocik

      Interesting points Barry, however, I see it differently. This is a platform easily converted to automated driving, combine this with a city center where all private vehicular traffic is prohibited and this a much, much less expensive mass transit system to institute than rail dedicated trams or trolleys as the road infrastructure is already in place. And much more flexible in routes and access areas.

      • Chad Meyers

        keep in mind, one shoe does not fit all feet. Good points all around.

    • Tony_CCL

      Barry – I see the other side as attractive too. Buses are more flexible, can serve the “last mile” and when they reach the ability to drive autonomously they could caravan closely in an AV lane of the future.