The flagship project was meant to ease traffic congestion on the access roads into the Principality.
Initially scheduled for the summer of 2021, then postponed to the beginning of 2022, it now appears the first crossings will not be happening for several years. The first and second calls for tender issued by the Lignes d’Azur company for an ecological vessel were unsuccessful. The principle reason is that a service such as this has to be created from scratch.
The Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur (greater Nice local authority) therefore organised a “sourcing” operation. And according to the manufacturers interviewed by 20 Minutes, it is not possible for “the implementation of a regular hydrogen or 100% electric shuttle service, integrated with public transport” to be operational before 2026.
At the same time, the Métropole is studying the use of vessels equipped with hydrofoils, a kind of underwater wing. Among them is the decarbonised invention by an American company, which was presented last week at the Transition Forum in Nice. Regent Craft is developing a futuristic machine that is “half boat, half high-speed plane” travelling at “over 200 km/hr at top speed, 2.5m above the water”, as they told our media colleagues.
Early trials in the US
Trials are planned in Florida. They will involve a prototype that will initially be able to carry twelve passengers, and later 100. The Métropole stated that Christian Estrosi had concluded “an agreement” with the company “to test this new mode of transport out of Nice” in 2024, which would be “a first in Europe”.
This option could be operational in 2027, and would enable passengers to travel from Nice to Monaco in just twenty minutes.