1882 Heinrich Hess, an experienced wainwright and blacksmith, sets up a workshop and forge in Solothurn to repair wagons and trailers of all kinds. 1919 First coach work concepts for buses, trucks and cars. 1933 HESS presents first bus with aluminum bodywork. 1940 Biel and Basel order the first HESS trolley buses. 1961 HESS introduces the articulated bus to satisfy public need of increased passenger capacity. 1977 HESS develops the first generation COBUS airport bus. 1978 Prototypes appear. Licensed manufacturing begins in Australia and New Zealand. 1987 Construction starts on the world’s first low-floor passenger trailer. 1991 Swisstrolley is the world’s first-ever low-floor articulated trolley bus. It sets the market alight. 1994 HESS starts production of 3500 off-road DURO car bodies. 1996 HESS licenses manufacturing in the USA. 2003 HESS puts the world’s first low-floor double-articulated trolley bus into service. 2007 Another breakthrough – the first low-floor double-articulated hybrid bus in the world. 2008 HESS receives the «company award» for its «sustainable development», awarded by the Government of the Canton of Solothurn. 2011 The flexible BusTrain with HESS low floor tractor vehicle goes into production. 2013 World’s first 18,7 m E-Bus with stationary fast charging TOSA/ABB for TPG Geneva and with new design. 2014 Presentation of the new design generation lighTram® 25 with the new trolley buses for VBL Lucerne. 2017 Lighthouse project SwissTrolleyPlus with the assistance of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy and the ETH Zurich. 2017 Change of the diesel bus line 23 of TPG Geneva to an E-Bus system with 12 lighTram® 19 TOSA and charging stations along the lines. 2017 Start of series production of lighTram® 19 DC with delieveries to the cities of Berne and Biel. 2018 Start of series production of lighTram® 25 DC with delieveries to the cities of Berne and Zurich. 2017 Change of the diesel bus line 17 of Bernmobil to an E-Bus system with 5 lighTram® 17 OPP and charging stations along the lines. 2019 Change of the gas-powered bus line 4 of Semitan Nantes to a HESS E-Bus system with 22 lighTram® 25 TOSA and charging stations along the lines.
There is little point in reinventing the wheel, but a lot to gain by reinventing the vehicle it carries – and this is a wheel that turns faster and faster all the time. The original HESS team was made up mostly of wainwrights and blacksmiths. Today’s team includes IT professionals, automotive electricians, engineers, mechanics, bodywork fitters and finishers, as well as all the other specialized technicians and craftsmen, whose shared decades of expertise and experience continue to drive the company’s name for reliability and innovation towards the future.