Here at CleanTechnica, we’ve been covering Solaris quite a bit. It is a bus manufacturer in Europe that’s making big strides in electrifying public transit in European cities, so that’s right up our alley.
A couple months ago, the company reached an important milestone with the sale of its 2000th electric bus. Over 140 carriers from over 140 cities in 21 European countries have placed orders for these amazing 2000 zero-emission Urbino electric vehicles. Over 1300 of them have already arrived and are being put to use. Another 700 electric buses will be manufactured this year or next, according to the manufacturer. Electric Urbino vehicles help to promote modern and ecologically friendly transportation in places like Berlin, Bolzano, Brussels, Cluj-Napoca, Cracow, Landshut, Madrid, Milan, Oslo, Paris, Warsaw, and Venice, among others.
This milestone was a long time in the making. Solaris started its battery-powered adventure in 2011 with the launch of its first 8.9-meter Urbino electric bus. The Urbino 12 electric bus has been produced since 2012, followed by the unveiling of the Urbino 18 bi-articulated electric bus in 2013. In 2019, a platform for the bi-articulated Urbino 24 electric was created, and 2020 saw the introduction of Solaris’ first intercity e-bus: the Urbino 15 LEelectric. The latest Solaris electric bus debuted just this year: theUrbino 9 LEelectrical.
Along the way, Solaris has done a number of cool, innovative things with public transportation. Last year, its Solaris Urbino 15 LE Electric Bus won the 2022 Sustainable Bus Award. The Sustainable Bus Award is an international competition that attempts to increase awareness for the importance of developing sustainable public transport. It also works to create a positive image for buses and coaches as crucial methods of transportation in climate change prevention.
Solaris also created an innovative charging park for electric buses. The new EV Charging Park is a testing ground for different charging technologies for electric buses. The new Charging Park will have a surface area of 5,000 square meters. There will be four vehicle stands in the park’s covered portion, and these will include the main charger as well as a technological center.
Solaris’s Charging Park will be the first bidirectional charging park in Poland and one of the first of its sites in Europe. The deployment of V2G technology makes it possible to discharge buses for testing and to also use vehicles as mobile energy storage facilities.
Today, Solaris produces around 1500 buses each year. Electric motors account for roughly half of the company’s current output. For several years, the proportion of alternative energy in the purchase queue has been increasing, suggesting that more cities are utilizing zero-emission transportation.
Solaris’ approach to selling electric buses was what got it here, according to the firm. Instead of selling just a few models of electric buses, Solaris collaborates with municipalities and transit organizations to develop a bus that is customized for local demands and performs well on local routes. Municipalities may feel more confident that the vehicles will function effectively in the areas they’ll be utilized since all of the guesswork has been removed.
How Solaris Did In 2021
Solaris released its 2021 Sustainability Report on the company website this week. The manufacturer is thus continuing to pursue activities based on transparency and engagement with its surrounding environment and workers.
“Solaris has been striving to enhance the quality of life of city residents and to provide public transport passengers with the best travel experience possible. As part of the CAF Group and as an international company with 16 subsidiaries Europe-wide, Solaris is fully aware of its impact on international communities and, at the same time, of its responsibility towards these groups. That is why Solaris is continuously working to reduce its potential adverse effects and to amplify the positive effects of its business activities, all of which have been presented in the latest Sustainability Report in a very detailed and comprehensive manner,” said Javier Calleja, CEO of Solaris Bus & Coach sp. z o.o.
Solaris published its second report, Sustainability Report 2.0: The Challenge of Urbanization and Global Climate & Civilizational Change, on April 30th. It is divided into four parts: “Sustainable Cities,” “Environment,” “People” and “Governance.” This is Solaris’ second report, which demonstrates the company’s commitment to ESG implementation and reporting. It has been designed in accordance with international GRI reporting guidelines. With the help of key stakeholders, the company has specifically chosen relevant sustainability aspects and the scope of reported data that is most important to its operations.
A great deal of space in the report has been devoted to activities that lie behind the company’s success stories, such as product innovations, various investments, and resource-saving solutions. The Development Department’s intensive work to increase the nominal energy capacity of its batteries has resulted in significantly higher vehicle ranges.
Solaris began LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) research for two of its bus types in 2021: the Solaris Urbino 18 electric and Solaris Urbino 12 hybrid buses, and received Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for them based on these analyses in April 2022. This evaluation has enabled the firm to identify processes, materials, and components with the greatest environmental impact, allowing it to devise strategies to minimize their negative effects on the environment.
The development of employees is an important aspect in a company’s success. Solaris outlines a number of initiatives taken for the sake of its workers to provide them with chances to enhance themselves in areas that both support business goals and broaden their professional skills in its report. Last year, the firm launched new educational programs for young people to improve their environmental awareness and encourage them to use public transportation as a means of transportation. The CityMission initiative was created for elementary school students in grades 1-3 and included a creative competition, educational workshops, and an “urban game.”
The Sustainability Report, which contains a summary of Solaris’s ESG efforts in 2021, is the result of months of work by Solaris Bus & Coach sp. z o.o.’s and subsidiary companies within the Solaris Group. The report is available in Polish and English. To better protect the environment, the firm has chosen to limit publication of the report to web-based distribution, to avoid wasting paper.
Want to see the report yourself? Check it out here.
Featured image provided by Solaris.
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