China put tens of thousands of electric buses on the road years ago. Actually, the city of Shenzhen alone had more than 16,000 electric buses, 100% of its fleet, in service at the end of 2017 and China as a whole had hundreds of thousands of electric buses in service. At that time, an electric bus order in Europe or North America might total 3 or 4. Things are changing. Europe and North America are waking up to the potential, benefits, and low cost of electric buses and placing larger orders.
As you can see from the title of this piece, Milan just placed one of the West’s biggest electric bus orders, an order for 100 electric buses from Solaris, which goes on top of 40 electric buses put into service last year. Technically, it’s Milanese transit operator ATM that ordered the Urbino electric buses, which are all 12 meters in length.
Solaris, based out of Poland, has been sweeping up electric bus orders this year — pandemic be damned. It’s had buses delivered to Paris, Cracow, Hamburg, Katowice, Egged, Offenbach, Sosnowiec, and several other cities. Milan’s order is one of its largest, though.
This order also pushes Solaris past a notable production milestone. “It is worth noting that the 1000th electric bus to roll out of the Solaris factory will be among the 100 newly ordered Urbino 12 electric for Milan,” Solaris writes.
“The first battery bus Urbino electric was presented in 2011. Since then, the electric Solaris have been already ordered by nearly 100 customers from 18 countries. In 2017, the Solaris Urbino electric was elected the best city bus in Europe.”
The buses will also get some driver-assist aids to improve safety on the buses and the roads around them.
“Milan-based ATM has decided in favour of customised retrofitting of the buses with two innovative solutions. The first of these is Mobileye Shield+, a warning system — using acoustic and visual alerts — indicating objects in a driver’s blind spot, indicating when a vehicle changes lanes without signalling beforehand or signalling that the appropriate distance to the vehicle in front is not maintained. The second one is MirrorEye, a solution which will be implemented — for testing purposes — in one electric bus for Milan. This solution consists in replacing side mirrors with cameras ensuring a much better visibility, in particular at night and in difficult weather conditions.”
Kudos to Solaris on both securing the large order in Milan and hitting the 1,000-electric-buses milestone. It must be doing something right!
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