Alternative drive systems 

The future belongs to the electric Postbus

Electric Postbuses are now also on the roads in Western Switzerland and Graubünden: the number of these vehicles used in scheduled public transport services has risen again – and PostBus has come a step closer to its stated goal of running its entire fleet on fossil-free fuels.

Since June 2022, public transport users in the center of Delémont have been able to enjoy comfortable travel on quiet, emission-free vehicles, and with no jerks caused by shifting gears. Why? Because the first electric Postbus in Western Switzerland has started scheduled services. The local bus service can carry 20 people and cover up to 200 kilometres on a single charge. Three solar panels on the roof generate energy to support operation of the doors, computer system, air conditioning and heating.

In the Canton of Graubünden too, the first electric buses for scheduled public transport services got the go-ahead: from spring 2023, a total of 11 battery-powered vehicles of different sizes will take to the roads on four PostBus routes between Chur and Bad Ragaz. Procurement of the fleet was initiated by PostBus, with Graubünden energy company Repower installing the charging infrastructure and the canton covering the additional costs.

“By the end of 2024, we intend to have 100 electric Postbuses in operation,” says Mark Bögli, who heads the Electric Mobility Transformation project at PostBus. “By 2040, the aim is for the entire fleet to be climate-friendly and fossil-free.” To achieve this, PostBus is committed to electromobility: electric shuttle vehicles have been operating in the municipality of Saas-Fee since 2016, there has been a 12-metre battery-powered bus on the Sarnen-Alpnach route since 2018 and an electric bus has been in service in the Brugg region since 2021. In 2022, PostBus introduced an electric bus on various routes in Interlaken and the surrounding area. After 2028, PostBus aims to procure only fossil-fuel-free buses.

We are converting more and more routes to electromobility.

Mark BögliHead of Electric Mobility Transformation

E-diesel: an interim solution

While PostBus is committed to electric buses for the future, there are vehicle types such as high-floor vehicles for which there may not be a battery-powered alternative after 2028. E-diesel could offer an interim solution in these situations. A synthetic fuel, e-diesel is produced using energy from water and carbon, not from biomass or waste materials, as is the case with biodiesel.

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First WTO service tender for the procurement of electric buses

PostBus plans to procure larger numbers of electric buses in the coming years and published its first WTO service tender for this purpose in 2022. Ten suppliers from all over the world submitted bids. The contract was awarded to two companies, one from Switzerland and one from Germany. This means that for the first time, PostBus has concluded framework agreements with two suppliers for the commission of electric low-floor buses and electric low-floor articulated buses. These agreements make it easier to procure the vehicles.

PostBus also published a tender for low-floor and high-floor diesel buses and concluded contracts for their procurement with four suppliers. There were more suppliers of electric buses than of diesel vehicles.