December 18, 2020. In partnership with the operator GRTgaz, two gendarmerie units are testing a fleet of vehicles that run on natural gas for four months in France.
Forced, like other state services, to phase out diesel, the gendarmerie is taking great interest in new energy. With the collaboration of GRTgaz, two of its units have been using natural gas as an alternative fuel for several weeks.
“Beyond my functions within GRTgaz, I am an operational reservist for the gendarmerie with the deputy general commander of the Hauts-de-France region for the Aisne, Oise and Somme departments in Amiens, with whom I had already had the opportunity to discuss the difficulties linked to the renewal of the vehicle fleet. It runs mainly on diesel and I offered to test gas vehicles,” recalls Jean-Pierre Dolleans, GRTgaz safety delegate.
“The institution had already carried out tests in Hauts-de-France with electric vehicles. We adopt the same convention adapting it to integrate natural gas. The vehicles were distributed in two pilot sites to have two different feedbacks,” sums up Dolleans.
Located in Compiègne, in Oise, the first site received its vehicles at the beginning of November, while the second, in Nantes (Loire-Atlantique), was delivered on November 19. “If we choose these two sites it is also because we have private stations to which the gendarmerie is given access,” specifies Rémi Dufour, CNG project manager in GRTgaz’s purchasing department.
Each unit has three gas vehicles: two Seat Leon TGIs and a Fiat Doblo Natural Power in a utility version.
For the gendarmerie, the stakes are high. Like other state services, it is convenient to promote new energy when renewing fleets and natural gas could be among the solutions to replace diesel vehicles. “The gendarmerie fleet has more than 20,000 vehicles in France. If we add the national police and the fire brigade, the fleet is colossal”, emphasizes Dolleans.