By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy Hess + Brisbane City Council

FOLLOWING its Brisbane Metro contract win in 2019, Swiss vehicle manufacturer Hess has been awarded a share of a major e-bus tender from public transport operator BVB (Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe) in Basel, Switzerland, the company confirmed recently.

Artist’s Impression - courtesy of Brisbane City Council.

As part of the city’s conversion to an all-electric bus fleet, BVB is purchasing 62 e-buses from manufacturers Hess and EvoBus (Schweiz) AG for around 65 million Swiss francs (A$93.5 million). The e-buses are scheduled to go into operation from between autumn 2022 and spring 2023, BVB explains.

Hess will design and deliver eight of its 24.7-metre bi-articulated electric buses, the lighTram 25, which are similar to those that will be used in the Brisbane Metro project. The buses will be charged via state-of-the-art charging infrastructure on route and overnight depot charging.

The Hess pilot vehicle for the Brisbane Metro project, a lighTram 25, is scheduled to begin its trial in Brisbane in 2022. 

Carosserie HESS AG CEO Alex Naef says he was delighted to be one of the successful tenderers for Basel.

"We are happy and proud that Hess, along with its buses and services, has been selected and allowed to contribute to the success of the Basel bus system," Naef said.

"With our experience and geographical proximity, we will be able to optimally support BVB over the lifetime of the buses in its further development as an attractive and sustainable public transport undertaking."



Naef says the lighTram 25 will be used to ease congestion on Basel’s popular airport service, which has reached peak capacity in recent years.

"The response to the increase in demand has been to increase the frequency of services. However, further increases in service frequency are no longer possible because there is a risk that the buses will start to hinder each other."

The solution to the problem of overcrowding, Naef says, is larger vehicles with greater capacity.   

"With a length of 25 metres, about six metres longer than the previous diesel buses, the lighTram 25 provides more space for passengers and luggage, as well as generous areas for pushchairs or passengers with reduced mobility," he explained.

New Brisbane Metro at Herston station.jpg


Founded in 1882, Hess built its first electrically powered vehicles in 1940. Today it is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of electric buses, with contracts across Europe and in Queensland, it states.

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