Solaris, a leader among electric bus producers in Europe, has hit a major milestone — it just rolled its 20,000th bus off the production line. The bus was produced in its factory in Bolechowo, Poland. Solaris has been producing environmentally friendly buses since 1996. Its milestone 20,000th vehicle is out on the streets of Poland’s capital, Warsaw. It wears MZA bus fleet number 5999.
The bus, an electric Urbino 18, is silent, comfortable, and best of all doesn’t produce any emissions. Solaris’ 20,000th bus was the last vehicle delivered under a huge order of 130 electric buses that was placed by Warsaw in 2019. Operator MZA was one of the first clients of Solaris and has purchased over 1,200 Solaris vehicles of various generations so far. This includes 150 electric buses.
Javier Calleja, CEO of Solaris, shared his thoughts about the advancement of technology as well as the design of the vehicles while pointing out that the best part was the quality of life of city inhabitants. “If you take a look at the first and at the latest generation of Solaris vehicles of the Urbino range, you will definitely notice the enormous progress made in public transport. It is not only about the advancement of technology and the design of vehicles, although this area, too, has undergone an impressive transformation. For Solaris though, the most important change that has happened in the industry over the past two decades is the transition of priorities towards clean drivelines, and consequently, towards the quality of life of city inhabitants.”
Solaris has been making zero-emission trolleybuses since 2001 and has gained experience from the assembly of over 1,600 of its Trollino buses, which are being used in many European cities. Another major year for Solaris was 2006, when the Urbino hybrid was debuted. It wasn’t until 2011 that Solaris unveiled its first Urbino electric, which is what launched it to the rank of sector pioneer and reshaped its very DNA. From 2011 onwards, Solaris has been putting its all into perfecting the art of zero-emission technology.
Solaris’ 20,000th bus will be deployed to the 503 line which is served by only zero-emission vehicles. It is painted in the MZA colors of red and yellow and will be stationed at the Stalowa depot where it will be plugged in for a recharge at night.
The Impact Of Clean Electric Buses
Back in March, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAA) pointed out that air pollution is “cutting years off lifespans,” and that diesel trucks and buses are a major cause. The article noted that in 2015, vehicle emissions were responsible for around 385,000 deaths. According to the Air Quality Life Index, air pollution takes almost two years of every person’s life on average. The report pointed out that residents in New York have gained more than two years on average with less air pollution. In Chicago, that number is two years exactly, and in Washington, D.C., that number is three years.
The CCAA also noted that the pandemic of air pollution eclipses HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis. In 2018, the World Health Organization stated that 9 out of 10 people globally were breathing polluted air even though more countries were taking action. Updated estimates showed “an alarming death toll of 7 million people every year caused by ambient (outdoor) and household air pollution.”
Air pollution, especially fine particulate matter (PM2.5), infiltrates the lungs and cardiovascular system and causes various chronic diseases, such as lung cancer, pneumonia, heart disease, and stroke. Black carbon, which also contributes to climate change, is a key ingredient in the formation of PM2.5 air pollution. The CCAA noted that air pollution is mostly caused by human activities such as driving cars; heavy-duty, diesel-powered trucks and buses; and burning coal.
The impact of Solaris reaching its milestone of 20,000 buses can be felt if you look at a 2018 study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, which found electric buses range from being 1.4 to 7.7 times better than a diesel bus in the United States, depending on region and electricity sources. A different way of demonstrating this is: a diesel bus has nearly 1½ to 8 times the global warming emissions as an electric bus — depending on the region.
Here’s to 20,000 more Solaris buses on the roads soon!
This article has been updated for a major correction, to clarify that it was Solaris’ 20,000th bus that was just produced, not its Solaris’ 20,000th electric bus.