As part of the lighthouse project “move2zero”, the innovative, demand-based “GRZ Shuttle” will start operating on 16 May. During a six-month test run, the emission-free shuttle will be available to passengers on demand and free of charge between the public transport stations (bus and train) and the airport. The automated charging system “Matrix Charging” by the Graz-based company Easelink will also be used.
“Zero emission”: In future, this will also be the motto for public transport companies when it comes to purchasing new vehicles for their fleets. In order to gradually come closer to the goal of a completely emission-free bus fleet, Holding Graz, together with project coordinator Grazer Energieagentur and 12 other partners from research and industry, has already launched the research project “move2zero” in 2019. The goal is to replace the municipal bus fleet of Holding Graz with climate-friendly alternatives such as battery-electric and fuel cell buses. In parallel, the public transport system is being expanded and made more attractive with the introduction of demand-responsive services.
Deputy Mayor Judith Schwentner: “I am very pleased that the emission-free on-demand shuttle is now starting its test operation and that the public transport system in Graz will thus be supplemented by a flexible, sustainable and customer-oriented offer. Especially in public transport, there is great potential to sustainably reduce emissions with climate-friendly alternatives. Such test operations help to evaluate the use of e-mobility in public transport so that we can quickly make an effective contribution to the energy turnaround and thus to achieving our climate goals with an optimal fleet replacement.”
Participation City Councillor Manfred Eber: “The shuttle service will be introduced as an additional service for guests at Graz Airport, so that a journey by public transport can also be made the last few metres to the airport without any problems. This is a trial and we hope that the trial operation will be well received.”
Emission-free and on demand
Until mid-October 2022, the on-demand shuttle will take passengers from selected public transport stops to the airport and back, emission-free, on demand and free of charge. In contrast to the classic scheduled service, the shuttle does not run according to a timetable, but when it is called. Calls can be made via www.grz-shuttle.at or via the QR codes placed at the stops. Once the start and destination stops, the number of people and the luggage have been announced, the shuttle will be at the pick-up point in a few minutes. The on-demand shuttle operates daily from 4.30 a.m. to 8 p.m. and serves the following stops: Graz Airport, Graz-Feldkirchen Airport S-Bahn station (line S5), Abtissendorf Flughafenstraße regional bus stop (bus line 600/620) and Amedia Express Graz Airport-Hotel.
Innovative: Wireless charging by the Graz-based company “Easelink” in public spaces
A battery-electric shuttle is used: the Mercedes e-Vito. The e-Vito is charged via the automated conductive charging system “Matrix Charging” by the company Easelink. As soon as the shuttle parks in front of the arrivals hall at the airport, the so-called Matrix Charging Connector automatically lowers from the vehicle underbody and connects to the charging plate on the car park floor. This makes charging the shuttle particularly convenient without having to leave the car and plug in a cable. The project partner Energie Graz supplies the innovative charging system with green electricity.
In addition to the new Matrix Charging technology, this first test run will also answer research questions about the autonomous operation of on-demand shuttles as well as the need for and acceptance of on-demand services.
Mark Perz, Board member of Holding Graz: “The emission-free on-demand shuttle between the S-Bahn station and the airport is part of the research project “move2zero”, in the course of which the use of battery and hydrogen buses in traffic will be tested on two bus routes in the next few years.”
Robert Schmied, Managing Director of Grazer Energieagentur: “The introduction of the innovative GRZ Shuttle will make the urban public transport system in Graz even more flexible, customer-oriented and sustainable. This should further increase the demand for public transport. By switching to renewable, electrified forms of propulsion (decarbonisation) of the public transport system, the project contributes significantly to increasing the quality of life in Graz. We are proud to be the initiator and project manager in this project.”
Boris Papousek and Werner Ressi, Managing Directors of Energie Graz: “As the expansion of the infrastructure for an emission-free future is of great concern to us, we are proud to be a project partner in this lighthouse project. Together with “Easelink” we have succeeded in realising a wireless charging of the on-demand shuttle with 100% regional natural electricity, thus adding another piece of the puzzle to the overall picture of energy transition.”
“The new airport shuttle is a very exciting and at the same time practical innovation,” explains Jürgen Löschnig, Managing Director of Graz Airport. “On the one hand, because it fits perfectly with our efforts around the reduction of CO2 emissions due to the environmentally friendly and future-oriented drive technology, and on the other hand, because it represents a completely new service for our passengers arriving by train.”
Hermann Stockinger, Founder and Managing Director Easelink: “We are pleased that as a fast-growing high-tech company we can demonstrate the Matrix Charging technology in different real-world environments in cooperation with Holding Graz. Especially the e-shuttle application in a passenger movement zone underlines the necessity for wireless and barrier-free charging. In the future, the automated charging connection will become a basic function for autonomous passenger transport.”
DI Theresia Vogel, Managing Director of the Climate and Energy Fund: “The mobility transition is one of the key factors for achieving the national climate targets 2040. If we want to achieve these, then the transformation of our mobility system must start today. Move2Zero shows what a future emission-free public transport system can look like and thus makes a contribution to the Mobility 2030 Master Plan. In addition to the integration of different vehicle and charging technologies, an intelligent, demand-oriented offer also plays an important role. In this way, the mobility of the future can already be experienced by the citizens of Graz today”.
All information on the test operation of the GRZ Shuttle:
Duration of test operation: from 16 May 2022 to mid-October 2022.
Operating hours: from 4.30 a.m. to 8.00 p.m.
Stops: Graz Airport – S-Bahn station Flughafen Graz-Feldkirchen (line S5) – Regional bus stop Abtissendorf Flughafenstraße (bus line 600/620) – Amedia Express Graz Airport-Hotel
Vehicle: Mercedes e-Vito (battery-electric shuttle; 9-seater)
Free service during the test run
Call system (on-demand service) via grz-shuttle.at
Matrix Charging: automated conductive charging system by Easelink. More information on the charging system: easelink.com
Boris Papousek (Energie Graz), Jürgen Löschnig (Graz Airport), Robert Schmied (Graz Energy Agency), participation city councillor Manfred Eber, Hermann Stockinger (Easelink) and Holding Graz board member Mark Perz (from left).