Photo: Lukasz Bera

Solaris Keeps Cooking Along With E-Buses in Europe

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At CleanTechnica, Solaris has been a frequent subject of our articles for several years now. This is because the company specializes in manufacturing electric buses — an eco-friendly transportation option that is ideal for municipalities, and thus a key ingredient in the solution to climate change.

When compared to diesel buses, electric buses are known to be more cost-efficient when it comes to operations and maintenance. Moreover, since they do not produce any harmful emissions, these buses can provide a reliable solution for pollution-free transportation. Passengers can enjoy a comfortable and noise-free ride due to the smooth operation of the electric bus. Although electric buses were not widely used a decade ago, the decreasing cost of batteries has made them a more viable choice for numerous city transit agencies globally.

In 2011, Solaris began its foray into battery-powered vehicles by introducing its first electric bus, the Urbino. This vehicle measured 8.9 meters and was met with great success. Building on this triumph, Solaris went on to launch the Urbino 12 electric bus in 2012, followed by the Urbino 18 bi-articulated electric bus in 2013. The introduction of the Urbino 24 electric bus in 2019 helped establish a new platform for bi-articulated buses.

Solaris made headlines again in 2020 when it unveiled its first-ever intercity electric bus, the Urbino 15 LE. Most recently, in 2021, the company introduced its latest electric bus, the Urbino 9 LE, which continues to expand its line of eco-friendly vehicles.

At present, Solaris has an annual production output of around 1500 buses, with electric drives accounting for almost half of the company’s total production. The surge in purchase orders for alternative power sources over the years is a clear indication of the growing demand for zero-emission transportation. Solaris has played a significant role in the shift towards an electric bus industry, having sold and delivered over 2000 e-buses to date.

This month, Solaris had two new announcements that show the company is not resting on its laurels.

Even More Electric Buses in Rzeszow

Solaris made its debut in delivering electric buses to Poland in 2015. As of 2020, there are over 150 of these zero-emission vehicles traversing the streets of 20 Polish cities. With more than 300 vehicles currently in production or awaiting delivery, the number of Solaris electric buses on Polish streets is expected to rise to 490 in 33 cities in the coming months. Additionally, new contracts are being signed, indicating further expansion of the electric bus network in Poland.

But, that doesn’t mean that Solaris is done in Poland. The Rzeszow city government has recently placed an order for six 9-meter, low-entry Solaris Urbino electric buses. In addition to the buses, the manufacturer has offered the city a comprehensive turnkey e-mobility solutions package, including the investment part of designing and building the charging infrastructure. The ordered Urbino 9 LE electric buses are scheduled to be delivered to Rzeszow by the end of 2023. These new buses will join the current 10 12-meter electric buses that have been servicing Rzeszow city lines since 2019, further demonstrating the government’s commitment to zero-emission transportation.

“The purchase of zero-emission buses fits perfectly with the city’s climate-neutral policy. Today we signed a contract for the purchase of six electrics, but we are already thinking about making hydrogen buses the next vehicles of our public transport,” said Konrad Fijołek, Mayor of Rzeszów.

The forthcoming Urbino 9 LE electric buses are set to come equipped with an electric central motor and Solaris High Energy batteries offering a total capacity of 280 kWh. The buses will come equipped with rails attached to the roof of the vehicle, in addition to the standard plug-in system. The rails will serve for inverted pantograph charging of the buses. These ordered models are perfect for large urban centers due to their compact size, allowing them to easily navigate the narrow and congested city areas. Furthermore, despite their small size, these buses provide adequate seating for up to 65 passengers, a large number of which face the direction of travel.

“We are very pleased that yet another Solaris buses will boost Rzeszow’s municipal fleet. We believe that by providing cities with zero-emission vehicles, and by offering ready-to-use charging infrastructure solutions, we facilitate the ‘green transformation’ of cities and make a real impact on the quality of life of their residents,” said Krzysztof Musiał, Sales Director of the Southeast Region in Poland in Solaris Bus & Coach Sp. z o.o.

More Good News In France

Solaris Bus & Coach has been chosen as a prospective supplier of electric buses and trolleybuses in France. The Union of Public Purchasing Groups (UGAP) has singled out two designated models from the company’s catalog of zero-emission vehicles — the Trollino 18 and Urbino 18 electric buses. The UGAP has made these models available to carriers without requiring an additional tendering process. The inclusion of these buses in the UGAP’s catalogue is for a period of 24 months, with the possibility of extending the contract.

In the latter half of March, a framework agreement was executed for the procurement of electric-powered public transport vehicles such as minibuses, buses, and mini-cars, along with additional implementation services, in response to a tender announced by UGAP. The procurement sought manufacturers offering vehicles in eight distinct categories, and received ten bids for articulated electric vehicles with a length ranging from 17 to 19 meters, from which four suppliers were chosen.

Solaris Bus & Coach was among the prospective suppliers, identified as a possible source for two zero-emission models, namely the Trollino 18 and the Urbino 18 electric. The submitted bids were evaluated on multiple factors, including the price, technical value, cost of use, quality of service, and eco-friendliness of the products.

”We are proud to have been awarded UGAP credentials. We are very pleased to be able to offer two models from our extensive portfolio of zero-emission vehicles: the Trollino 18 articulated trolleybus and the Urbino 18 electric articulated bus. France is one of those markets where our company particularly wishes to boost sales activities in the coming years. We therefore appreciate all the more the opportunity to offer our excellent, state-of-the-art products directly,” said Olivier Michard, Board Member for Sales, After Sales and Marketing.

Featured image by Solaris.


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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1983 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba