I’m always happy to return to Switzerland. As I did my PhD in Zurich, more than 20 years ago, I still feel a little bit Swiss. This year, the VÖV (Vereiningung Öffentlichen Verkher) held their biannual meeting in St. Gallen.
When travelling, I put special value on my morning jogging. It is strange how almost every city in Switzerland have their own hill from which you get a panorama of the Alps. This morning I went jogging up the Freudenberg. The feeling when facing the clear skies the fresh air, the clonk noise from the cow bells and occasional bääääs to from the sheep’s can hardly be described in a way the gives justice the experience.
At the top, with a pulse of 180 beats per minute, the panorama of Säntis (if I got the direction right) was breathtaking in more than one way. The experience added a healthy looking flush to my face, for the rest of the day.
The small well ordered, picturesque farms close to the cities; touch my heart as the true spirit of Switzerland. In the background, the old town of St. Gallen and the famous monastery is partly visible.
The conference in public transports was really interesting with a lot of focus on transport efficiency. Switzerland is special in many ways. The high quality expectations, with demands for high environmental performance with simultaneous strict boundaries for the economical viability is a challenge. I’m therefore particularly happy to see the high interest we now face for hybrids in Switzerland.
Today I got a bit proud too: Its one thing when I learn about our test results from independent institutes, the high reliability in our in-house testing etc. But, its even more exciting for to find our customers sharing their results in a public conference, on the their own testing of the Volvo 7700 Hybrid. The reports and testimonies from the customers gave me a confirmation that we, no doubt, have the strongest hybrid offer on the market.
It’s almost embarrassing when customers ask why the pricing is much lower than for the vendor products. But, as environmental director I’m of course glad that we have chosen the path to go for volume production with shortest possible lead time. The pricing will thus have to compete with the standard diesel buses by offering the lowest life cycle cost. With the fuel consumption figures that customers now report, I say we have succeeded.
The Swiss Post hybrid bus was delivered 1st of April as the worlds first Volvo 7700 Hybrid from the production series. After the Ice breaking of the Swiss Post we have now a number of hybrids to be supplied to Switzerland. There are 14 buses scheduled in the present plan and another 10 are about to be agreed in a near future.