In partnership with the Catecar* group, Genève Aéroport is participating in the development of a light, low-pollution and inexpensive vehicle incorporating a variety of technologies developed by universities and research centres. After its first laps on the tarmac, the "Swiss Green High Tech Urban Vehicle" could eventually meet needs for urban and suburban mobility.
On Tuesday, 31 January 2012, at 11:00, the Catecar group officially handed over to the Genève Aéroport authorities the first prototype of an innovative urban vehicle required to operate with minimal batteries (35 kg), a latest-generation solar roof, and a range extender, with fuel consumption of about one litre per hundred kilometres.
Tests conducted on the Geneva tarmac with the first vehicle should permit delivery by April 2012 of a second prototype incorporating some new specific features. The cabin, for example, will be made of a plant-based material, thanks to a Swiss technology that has enabled a material to be developed that has a higher impact resistance than any other composite material.
The Catecar group plans to start building a first batch of 200 vehicles exclusively destined for airports from mid-May
Small (3 metres long, 1.50 metres wide and 1.45 metres high) and light (about 300 kg), the vehicle must still be affordable (less than 20,000 francs). With a range of at least 500 kilometres, it could potentially find its place in traffic beyond the boundaries of the airport to meet the needs of urban and semi-urban mobility (i.e. 80% of needs in terms of car journeys), without pollution or greenhouse effects.
This "Swiss Green High Tech Urban Vehicle" in Switzerland could be type-approved at the end of 2012. Sales of the car to the general public could then start as early as 2013, with industrial production in Switzerland, possibly established in Reconvilier (BE). The next step would be to obtain European approval.
The airport authorities are happy to be able to participate in this scientific-industrial venture by providing the Catecar, for its tests, with the particularly appropriate test bed that the airport site offers.
This is in line with the environmental policy developed by Genève Aéroport to ensure compliance with the various laws on air, water, soil or noise, and its desire to limit the airport's environmental impact.
*Catecar is a group of two companies, Catecar SA and Catecar Industries SA, created in August 2008.
Note: Genève Aéroport recently received level 3 (of 4) airport carbon certification. This program includes several certification levels. Level 1 (mapping) requires that an airport determines its carbon footprint, i.e. emission sources are identified and annual greenhouse gas emissions are calculated. At level 2 (reduction), an airport must also set and meet an emissions reduction target. To reach level 3, the airport had to include in its carbon footprint emissions related to aircraft (landing and take-off), traffic generated (passengers and employees), and business travel, and encourage other players at the airport to introduce reduction measures. This is the level that was reached. The certification recognizes the measures introduced over the years to limit the greenhouse gases emissions associated with its activities. Among these initiatives, we note the installation of systems to supply power to parked aircraft, the installation of solar roofs, the renovation of certain technical facilities, the acquisition of eco-friendly vehicles, and the promotion of sustainable mobility.
Incidentally, the Nature & Economy Foundation, which set itself the aim of promoting biodiversity and bringing more colour to corporate sites, recently awarded a certification to the managing agent of the airport. This means that, in recognition in particular for the management of its grassland, Genève Aéroport now has the label of the foundation. (www.natureeteconomie.ch)