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Zurich: Test of the innovative HESS ‘Swiss eBus plus’

© Design: HESS

The ‘Swiss eBus plus’ is a pilot project supported by the Bundesamt für Energie (BFE –  Swiss Federal Office of Energy) to redesign an energy-efficient battery electric bus manufactured in Switzerland. The vehicle will be transferred to Verkehrsbetriebe Zürich (VBZ) at the end of July 2024 and used for test purposes. From September 2024, it will be put into operational use on the neighbourhood bus routes 35, 38, 39, 40, 42, 64 and 73. The project will run until 2026.

The implementation of VBZ’s electric bus strategy is making great strides. The proportion of electrically powered buses in the entire bus fleet is now over 50 per cent. On neighbourhood, standard and articulated bus routes, VBZ uses battery buses that are recharged in the garage. Although the technology in the field of battery-electric buses is constantly making great progress, battery buses still have a shorter range than diesel buses.

The ‘Swiss eBus plus’ project has therefore produced a demonstration vehicle based on new findings from research and technology development in the areas of thermal insulation of the vehicle shell and heating/air conditioning. The battery bus has comprehensive thermal management and new technologies for the drive, heating, air conditioning and insulation. Among other things, this makes it possible to dispense with fossil-fuelled auxiliary heating and increase the range. 

The vehicle will be presented to an interested specialist audience at a bus conference in Thun at the beginning of June. From September 2024, it will be in operational use in Zurich on the neighbourhood bus routes 35, 38, 39, 40, 42, 64 and 73.

The ‘Swiss eBus plus’ project will run until 2026 and was launched by Carrosserie HESS AG in collaboration with VBZ. The partners ETH Zurich and Bern University of Applied Sciences are using the project as a research platform for studies in the areas of thermal management and battery technology. The Swiss Federal Office of Energy is supporting the project as part of its pilot and demonstration programme.

(Info: VBZ)