If you’ve been following our electric bus coverage this year, the name Solaris probably rings a bell — perhaps a large bell. It seems that most electric bus orders in Europe these days are orders for Solaris Urbino buses. And, indeed, a news release from the company indicates that it sold more electric buses in Europe in the first 9 months of the year than any other company.
Solaris sold 242 electric buses in the first 3 quarters of the year, nearly a quarter of the slightly more than 1000 electric buses delivered in Europe. Those 242 Solaris Urbino electric buses went to cities in just 5 countries, actually: France, Spain, Germany, Italy, and Poland, where the company (Solaris Bus & Coach sp. z o.o.) is based.
Poland was indeed the biggest market for Solaris. The country registered 114 new electric buses in the first 3 quarters of 2020, and 96% of them were Solaris electric buses. That said, its share in other countries was impressive as well — 43% of new electric buses in Germany, for example, and 83% in Italy.
As you might have gathered, Solaris’ leadership helped Poland become a major electric bus market. Also, knowing one of the people who planted the seeds of the electric bus revolution there, I know that strong policies in certain regions helped Solaris rise up to the position it’s in today. So far in 2020, the top three markets in Europe for electric buses are Germany, the Netherlands, and Poland.
Though, the five countries above are not Solaris’ only markets. “In just the first three quarters of 2020, the company took orders for nearly 100 more e-buses. These went to clients in 26 cities in Lithuania, France, Spain, Germany, Poland and Italy. The last quarter will bring new deliveries so that by the end of the year a new record for the number of produced and delivered modern Solaris buses will have been set with the company strengthening its leader position.”
Gaining strong recognition for its pan-European leadership, Solaris won the Global e-Mobility Leader 2020 award at the Global e-Mobility Forum conference one week ago.
Also, while 2020 has been impressive for the company, so was 2019. Last year, Solaris delivered 162 electric buses to customers across the continent. The products included 8, 9, 12, and 18 meter electric buses.
“The share of vehicles with alternative drives in the bus production of Solaris has been growing year by year: in the first three quarters of 2020 it amounted to 43%, while in the corresponding period last year it was 39%,” the company notes. “What is more, the firm has been making further investments to adjust production lines to handle the significant increase in orders for vehicles with alternative drives.”
That also includes hydrogen fuel cell buses (Solaris has sold 57 since June 2019) and trolleybuses, but the bulk of Solaris’ alt-fuel bus orders are now Urbino battery-electric buses. I expect the percentage will rise to 100% by the end of the decade, if not mid decade. Its Urbino electric buses are even used as school buses now.
The zero-emission lineup is featured in the top-left area of Solaris’ vehicle lineup when you scroll over the Menu bar on its website. In terms of the Urbino electric, in addition to the 8, 9, 12, and 18 meter electric buses mentioned above, Solar launched the Urbino 15 LE last month, October 2020. Here’s how the company describes, or pitches, its Urbino electric bus lineup:
“Exceptionally quiet, emission-free, distinguished by its modern design and guaranteeing low operation costs — discover the benefits of the Solaris Urbino electric. Thanks to innovative technical solutions electric buses can operate for an unlimited time, up to 24 hours a day. Moreover, their low noise emission and vibration level makes battery buses particularly suited for use in city centres. The Solaris Urbino electric has been named ‘Bus of the Year 2017’. The vehicle is available in both a low-floor and low-entry variants.”
Indeed — with all of those benefits, I don’t understand why anyone is buying fossil-fueled buses at this point in time. They should all be electric. Institutional and cultural inertia are too strong for our own good.
Here are some previous Solaris stories published on CleanTechnica this year:
- Hamburg Will Get 530 Electric Buses In 2021–2025
- Over 150 Solaris Electric Buses Now In Poland
- Egged Orders 120 Solaris Urbino 18 Electric Buses
- Milan Getting Another 100 Electric Buses
- City of Cracow Orders 50 Electric Buses
- Green & Electric Paris, With A Little Help From Poland
- 4% Of European Union Bus Sales = Electric Buses
All images courtesy Solaris