The call for sustainable concepts is becoming louder and louder in the mountains according to Michael Kuhn, Vice-President Construction & Development at Kässbohrer in Laupheim. He says that sustainability not only protects the environment but also enhances visitor satisfaction and delivers economic benefits. This is why Kässbohrer is constantly working on the development of efficient, sustainable snow groomers. An eco-friendly model is already available in the second generation, another is now approaching series production, and work is also underway on the development of a hydrogen-powered alternative.
Pistenbully 600 E+ in the second generation
Back in 2012 the first diesel-electric snow groomer was deployed in an alpine setting. In the meantime, demand for the second generation Pistenbully 600 E+ is exceeding supply. A combination of reduced CO2 emissions, quiet operation and outstanding performance makes the groomer very popular. Dominik Kalbermatten, head of mountain rescue at Saastal Bergbahnen AG, is also thrilled: “We wouldn’t be without our Pistenbully 600 E+!”
Pistenbully 100 E approaching series production
The all-electric Pistenbully 100 E, which was unveiled at Interalpin 2019, is now being readied for series production. In the winter of 2020/21, it put in hundreds of hours of testing – just around the corner from Laupheim in the Swabian Alb, in the Allgäu region and on a test track at Notschrei in the Black Forest. Now the engineers are using the findings to further optimize a production-ready and affordable electric Pistenbully. “We want to make this technology not only ready for series production but also affordable,” explains Michael Kuhn, and he adds: “This promising technology won’t meet with general acceptance until it is affordable. And only then will it have a positive impact on the natural environment.”
Hydrogen project HySnowGroomer
Since the beginning of 2019, Kässbohrer has been a development partner in the Austrian HySnowGroomer project for the development of a hydrogen-powered snow groomer with the corresponding infrastructure. The whole thing will obviously take a while. “When filling stations are available at ski resorts, we will be ready with an affordable hydrogen machine that can go into series production,” promises Michael Kuhn and he adds: “At the same time, we are in communication with several multinational manufacturers in order to be able to offer our customers a state-of-the-art, high-quality drive technology that can be supported by our Service Department worldwide.”