Federal Environment, Transport and Energy Minister Doris Leuthard inaugurated the public transport bus, which operates without overhead wires, on Sunday.
The bus, billed as the first of its kind in the world, was developed by a public-private consortium including ABB Sécheron, the Geneva public transport authority (TPG) and SIG, the canton of Geneva’s utility company and supplier of electricity.
Leuthard praised the bus for being “really brilliant” for its technology, which produces no carbon dioxide emissions and is quiet, the Tribune de Genève reported.
The articulated bus works on a “flash” system that allows it be recharged in 15 seconds at every stop with an overhead device that delivers 400 kilowatts of electricity.
TPG calls the vehicle the first high-capacity bus in the world that is 100 percent electric without using overhead wires.
Capable of carrying 133 passengers, the 18.75-metre-long “flash mobility” bus was developed by the partners under a project called Trolleybus Optimisation Système Alimentation (TOSA).
TPG said the bus would be tested with passengers over the next three days on the number 5 line between Palexpo and the Geneva international airport.
It will run every 20 minutes during normal operating hours from June 1st until the 2014 Geneva Motor Show in March next year, the transit authority said.
Jean-Luc Favre, managing director of ABB Sécheron, earlier told local media that the consortium hopes to expand the technology elsewhere in Europe and ultimately worldwide.
ABB Sécheron, a subsidiary of power and engineering group ABB, covered two-thirds of the TOSA project’s five-million-franc-plus budget.
The inauguration of the bus coincided with the start of the 60th annual world congress of the International Association of Public Transport at Palexpo.
A video from TOSA shows how the bus technology works: