The French metropolis of Nantes has ordered an electric bus system worth approximately 31 million Euros from the vehicle manufacturer HESS. With this investment the passenger capacity per bus will be increased by 35%. By electrifying the existing gas bus line, residents benefit from significantly less noise and the environment from absent CO2 and exhaust emissions. A substantial subcontract goes to ABB.
The HESS E-bus-system consists of 20 double-articulated buses and fast-charging stations along the line. The bus line connects the historical centre of Nantes with the municipalities situated south of the Loire River. Thanks to two steered axles, the 24.5 m long vehicle has the same manoeuvrability as conventional articulated buses. The aluminium bus body has a modular design and is already in use as trolley or hybrid bus in Zurich, Lucerne, Geneva, St Gall and Luxemburg.
The fast-charging stations and the associated facilities are provided by ABB. During the time passengers enter and leave the vehicle on selected bus stops, the vehicle will be supplied with sufficient energy for drive and air conditioning systems in only 20 seconds. Similar systems for articulated buses are being implemented in Geneva and Bern.
HESS was founded in 1882 outside the historic town of Solothurn by Heinrich Hess. HESS has been producing electric drive buses since 1940 and today has a unique level of global know-how in this sector, developed from over 65 years of E-bus-system experience. The HESS group currently employs 400 people at its headquarters in Bellach and its different subsidiaries, including about 30 apprentices.
Hess and Volgren’s partnership spans nearly 40 years with the two leading manufacturers first coming together in 1979.  The alliance delivered Volgren’s ground-breaking CO-BOLT technology and gives Volgren access to world-leading technology.