The canton of Aargau is located in the North part of Switzerland and is one of the country’s most densely populated region, counting 644,830 inhabitants in 2014. Aargau’s transport strategy, dated from 2006, has three main pillars (an increasing the coordination of the transport policy with the economic, environmental and urbanisation policies; enhancing inter modality; evaluating and steering the transport policy) and aims at achieving a sustainable and financially viable mobility in the region. On the public transport side, new buses purchased in Switzerland have to comply with the EURO VI norm from January 2014.
PostBus is the leading bus operator in Switzerland. The company was established in 1906 with the creation of the first scheduled motorized service between Berne and Detligen (canton of Berne).
Today PostBus carries some 140 million passengers per year on 110 million kms, using its 869 routes and its 11,869 km long network. PostBus employs ca. 3,277 staff (on 31/12/2014) and has a fleet of 2,200 vehicles. The spectrum ranges from minibuses to articulated buses, double-deckers and luxury coaches, through to special-purpose vehicles for negotiating steep and narrow alpine roads or for taking children to school.
PostBus is committed to reducing CO2 emissions and local air pollution. The company signed the UITP charter for sustainable development in 2010 and reaffirmed its committment by signing the UITP sustainability charter 2015-2017. PostBus is looking at ways to reduce the 42 million litre of diesel emitted yearly by the company. Alongside the testing of fuel cell electric buses as part of the CHIC project, PostBus has deployed a fleet of 31 parallel hybrid buses, while 3 battery electric buses will be tested as of 2016. In addition, PostBus drivers benefit from special training (Eco Drive) and since 2013, 16 “Eco-coaches” provide eco-driving advices to drivers during the bus operation.
PostBus was awarded the Swiss Federal Office of Energy “Watt d’or” price in 2013 for its commitment to cleaner mobility as showcased through the deployment of fuel cell buses.
The local partners of the project are the bus manufacturer EvoBus (EvoBus GmbH and EvoBus Switzerland), the Canton of Aargau, the Swiss Post, the energy provider IBB Holding AG, Carbagas (subsidiary of Air Liquide), the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) and Empa (the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology). The Swiss Federal Office of Energy (BfE) supported the project with a financial contribution of 1,500 000 CHF.
Five 12 metres fuel cell electric buses (Mercedes-Benz Citaro from EvoBus) are in operation in Aargau since 2011. The buses are in daily service (18-20 hours/day), covering a distance of 180 -250 km/day, at an average of 22km/hour. The five fuel cell postbuses are operating on all 14 lines in the region of Brugg.
In addition to their daily schedule, the buses are regularly used as shuttle service at the occasion of special events such as the World Economic Forum in Davos or the Locarno Film Festival.
On 31 July 2015, the buses have reached a key milestone: they have driven 1 million kilometres, thus showcasing the maturity of the technology. More on this here.
As PostBus has a full service contract with EvoBus Switzerland, the company does not have its own workshop; a retrofitted workshop in Kloten (canton Zürich), owned by EvoBus, is used.
On-site hydrogen generation coming from green hydrogen: 100% of the hydrogen generated on-site is made of renewable energy sources such as hydropower, solar energy, wind energy and biomass. External hydrogen delivery is provided as a back-up solution.
The hydrogen refuelling station has a total storage capacity of 450 kg of hydrogen.
The partners are currently assessing the opportunity to continue the bus operation after the end of the project (December 2016).