Compagnie des Alpes, a fervent supporter of the ecological transition, is taking a decisive step towards achieving its Net Zero Carbon objective by 2030, by focusing on electric mobility and Made In France. These innovative initiatives, which are fully in line with the Group’s “10 Commitments and 5 Renouncements”, demonstrate its desire to accelerate its ecological transition while supporting the local economy and industry.
Compagnie des Alpes joins forces with CM DUPON for a historic electrical transition for snow groomers
For several years now, Compagnie des Alpes (CDA) has been working with CM DUPON, an illustrious Alpine family business and France’s only manufacturer of snow groomers, on an ambitious research and development initiative. Their joint mission: to create a low-carbon snow groomer.
The joint efforts of the two companies have resulted in a number of experimental projects. During the winter seasons of 21/22 at La Plagne and 22/23 at Tignes, the CDA carried out rigorous tests on prototype electric snow groomers. The results were more than promising: these machines had a remarkable autonomy of 5h30 to 6 hours in real operating conditions.
On the strength of these initial successes, the group opted for a larger-scale production phase. They have therefore placed a pre-production order for eight electric snow groomers. Of these, two will be deployed at the heart of the 2023/2024 season, while the remaining six will be operational during the winter of 2024-2025. These groomers will make their first appearance on the slopes of Serre Chevalier, with the invaluable support of the Southern Region in developing this innovative technology. It should be noted that their commissioning will require some minor adjustments to the working conditions of the groomer operators.
The deployment of these snow groomers will not be limited to a specific area. In fact, they will be operational in all the areas managed by the CDA, guaranteeing that they will be used in real-life conditions. “We’re keen to give priority to local players and thus participate in the reindustrialisation of the areas in which we operate, in particular by reducing carbon emissions, and in so doing we’re also taking action on Scope 3. We are very pleased to have placed our trust in CM Dupon; the pugnacity and tenacity of this company and its leader have resulted in a world first: the development of a pre-production electric snow groomer that meets our expectations”, says Dominique THILLAUD, Chief Executive Officer of Compagnie des Alpes.
Following tests and feedback from these pre-series vehicles, the Group plans to expand its fleet of electric snow groomers even further. The ultimate goal is to replace the 140 snow groomers currently in service with electric models.
Thanks to the joint innovation of CM DUPON and the CDA teams, each snow groomer will save an average of 80 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year.
Over the life of the machine, this represents a saving of 500 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, including the manufacture of the batteries. What’s more, these new snow groomers will eliminate the need for hydraulic fluids. It should also be remembered that Compagnie des Alpes only uses 100% carbon-free electricity.
“After all these years of collaboration with CM Dupon and the sharing of knowledge between this Isère-based company and the teams with expertise in several of our fields, I’m delighted to be moving on to a pre-production stage. In fact, all the tests carried out under real operating conditions have now made it possible to transform the trial. Beyond that, it’s also a question of putting in place solutions adapted to climate change, which require time and perseverance. We have here a concrete illustration of what anticipation and collaborative work can achieve”, explains David Ponson, Director of the Ski Areas and Outdoor Activities BU.
Compagnie des Alpes and mobility: an innovative electric transition for 4×4 vehicles
Compagnie des Alpes has undertaken to renew its fleet of vehicles, moving towards greener motorisation. This process of electric mobility began in 2021 when two of its subsidiaries, Société d’Aménagement de la Plagne (SAP) and Les Arcs Domaines Skiables (ADS), embarked on an innovative project: converting their existing 4×4 pick-ups to electric power. This transformation, known as ‘retrofitting’, has the dual advantage of giving the vehicles a new lease of life by reusing the existing chassis, and avoiding the costs and environmental impact associated with producing a new vehicle.
To bring this ambitious project to fruition, teams from the two ski areas teamed up with RETROFLEET, a specialist company based in Savoie. Together, they put a great deal of effort into developing, testing and validating a specific retrofit kit. The main objective was to convert the diesel engines in the 4×4 pick-ups into fully electric motors. After months of research and development, their work has paid off. Not only has the first retrofit kit for this category of vehicle been approved in France, but it is also scheduled for series production, offering a sustainable solution to other players in the market.
In the light of this success, Compagnie des Alpes has formalised its confidence in this technology by ordering no fewer than 10 retrofit kits, all to be produced and installed in Savoie, marking its local commitment.
Compagnie des Alpes continues its commitment with HVO100 eco-friendly fuel
During the previous winter, Compagnie des Alpes took a significant step forward in its environmental approach. All the Group’s ski areas undertook an ambitious energy transition, replacing the diesel traditionally used in their thermal snow groomers with HVO fuel. This massive and determined transition to a cleaner fuel has led to a significant and lasting reduction in CO2 emissions, reinforcing the Group’s commitment to protecting the environment.
Despite the higher cost associated with the use of HVO, largely due to taxes, which are on a par with those of fossil diesel, Compagnie des Alpes has reaffirmed its determination to pursue this eco-responsible trajectory. This decision is rooted in recognition of the proven benefits of HVO in the fight against global warming. In addition, the use of HVO represents an opportunity to recover used edible oils, which were previously disposed of. By using these ‘second life oils’, the CDA is helping to prevent potential agricultural conflicts arising from the competing use of new and used oils.
With regard to the environmental performance achieved through this transition, precise information concerning the actual reduction in CO2 emissions for the year 2023 will be disclosed following a rigorous audit. Details will be shared at the annual results presentation scheduled for 5 December.
To quantify the benefits of HVO: this fuel, 100% derived from renewable sources and made from fatty waste and recycled vegetable oils (without including palm oil), is perfectly compatible with the equipment of CDA’s partner manufacturers. Its use results in a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions and a 65% reduction in fine particles, demonstrating its transformative potential in the sector.
Support for the low-carbon bid for the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
These initiatives to achieve the Net Zero Carbon objective are also helping to support the joint low-carbon bid by the AURA and PACA regions for the 2030 Olympic Games: “These various initiatives are not only helping us to achieve the objectives we have set ourselves, they are also generating real collective benefits, in particular that of supporting the joint low-carbon bid by the AURA and PACA regions for the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games”, explains Dominique Thillaud.
Sandra Picard, Director of Communications, Brand and CSR, spoke of the importance of collaboration and rapid implementation in achieving significant change in terms of sustainable development: “Less than a year after drawing up its Mission Statement, these successes in terms of low-carbon internal mobility prove that the Group has resolutely entered a phase of putting its ’10 Commitments and 5 Renouncements’ into practice. The pace of implementation we are adopting is encouraging for the future, as it is based on a benchmark that will enable us to set in motion a real dynamic to accelerate change”.