Electric vehicles made in Switzerland
Martin Kyburz is a pioneer of electrically powered mobility. Nowadays, every child in Switzerland is familiar with his electric tricycles, which are used by Swiss Post as delivery vehicles, and these all-rounders are now taking the Asian market by storm too.
Meanwhile, the Zurich-based inventor is continuing to work on even more ideas for the electric vehicles of tomorrow. In 1991, when Martin Kyburz (an electrical engineer by trade) started a company that manufactured electric scooters for the elderly, electrically powered mobility was still in its infancy. His far-sighted thinking would go on to reap rich rewards: since 2009, KYBURZ has been supplying Swiss Post with three-wheeled delivery vehicles for its entire fleet. They have replaced motorbikes that guzzled up to 18 litres of petrol for every 100 km of stop-and-go driving and had a relatively short service life. The tricycles were the first electric vehicles to go into widespread circulation in Switzerland.
The nippy delivery vehicles have also proved popular in other countries. Produced in Freienstein (Canton of Zurich) by the 160-strong workforce of Kyburz Switzerland, they are used in various European countries and by the Australian and New Zealand postal services, and have also recently been rolled out in Thailand and India. “Even though our vehicles are sometimes a little pricier to buy, our customers choose KYBURZ because we offer a reliable, eco-friendly product that will save them money in the long run,” says Martin Kyburz, who as well as founding the company is also its CEO.
The general public associate KYBURZ with postal delivery vehicles, but the company also offers a lightweight 600 kg electric sports car as well as fleet management software that companies, cities and municipalities can use to manage their vehicle fleets in an energy-efficient and cost-effective way. In the Canton of Valais, all snowploughs are fitted with the system, which monitors their current position and provides real-time technical data such as salt use and spread range.
Switzerland doesn’t have a reputation as a centre for automotive manufacturing, but the example of KYBURZ shows how Swiss companies can make a name for themselves with innovative ideas for niche transport applications. In future, one such application could be automated delivery vans. KYBURZ developers are currently working on intelligent delivery and pallet robots. The robots are in use on commercial sites, and in Norway have already been unleashed on public roads.
Transport & mobility