Photo by Lukasz Bera. Fotografia reklamowa Lukasz Bera.

Electric Bus Company Solaris Makes Two Announcements

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Solaris, an electric bus company we cover often here (more on that toward the end of the article), recently had two announcements that show the company continuing its fight for mass transit electrification in Europe.

In Austria, the company recently struck a deal that will greatly help the city of Lustenau meet its goals. Rheintal Busverkehr GmbH, the local transit operator, has procured 16 Solaris Urbino 9 LE electric vehicles. These low-volume models are suitable for approval in both Class I and Class II. The order will be fulfilled in two phases, with delivery of 11 buses scheduled for 2024 and the rest in 2025. Rheintal Busverkehr GmbH is already familiar with a similar-length, conventionally powered model, as it has 20 Urbino 8.9 LE buses in its fleet.

The Solaris Urbino 9 LE electric bus boasts emission-free operation, quiet performance, and high maneuverability. Its compact size makes it ideal for navigating crowded urban spaces. Meanwhile, the ability to approve the bus in both Class I and Class II and the majority of the seats facing the direction of travel ensure comfortable rides not only on typical urban routes but also on suburban roads.

The ordered e-buses will feature state-of-the-art High Energy batteries with a total capacity of over 300 kWh, charged via plug-in connectors. Each bus will be equipped with two plug-in connectors, one located on the first right-wheel arch and the other on the last side panel on the right-hand side.

Inside, the modern interior of the Urbino 9 LE electric provides seating for 27 passengers, complete with modern features such as an automatic passenger counting system and advanced monitoring systems. Moreover, each of the 16 buses for Lustenau will be fitted with a CO2 heat pump.

As the shortest model in the zero-emission Urbino 9 LE electric portfolio, this vehicle has proven highly adaptable to the requirements of different transport operators, driving its increasing popularity. Solaris has already signed contracts for nearly 70 units of the 9-metre electrobus, with operators across Austria, Poland, Spain, Italy, Romania, and Germany, thereby supporting the green transformation of public transport in several cities.

The company also recently announced that it’s going to be at the UITP Global Public Transport Summit 2023 in Barcelona. The event, scheduled for June 5–7, is going to feature the company’s Urbino 12 Electric, and representatives will be on hand for questions and to start the ordering process as needed.

On the 6th at 11:00 AM, they’re also going to have a presentation by the company’s CEO, Javier Iriarte, where recent projects will be discussed and the press will have an opportunity to ask questions about the company’s products and mission.

So, if you’re going to be in Barcelona, be sure to stop in and check them out!

These Announcements Are Just The Next Step In A Long Journey Of Transportation Electrification

CleanTechnica has published numerous articles over the years about Solaris, because the company specializes in electric buses that are highly beneficial to municipalities.

Electric buses have earned a reputation for their cost efficiency and low maintenance costs when compared to diesel buses. Plus, they are environment-friendly since they emit no pollutants, making them a reliable mode of pollution-free transportation. Commuters can enjoy a mostly noiseless (at least from the bus) and comfortable ride due to the vehicle’s smooth operation. Although electric buses were uncommon a decade ago, the declining cost of batteries has made them a viable option for numerous city transit agencies.

Given the decreasing cost and increasing advantages of electric buses, it is no surprise that their sales have surged in recent years, becoming the preferred option in most cases. In European urban areas, electric bus deployment was limited to 15 units in 2012. However, by 2021, every fourth newly registered bus in Western Europe was electric. These vehicles are now commonplace on many routes and are proving to be a valuable asset to public transit systems.

In 2011, Solaris made its entry into battery-powered vehicles with the introduction of its first Urbino electric bus, which measured 8.9 meters. Following this, the Urbino 12 electric bus was launched in 2012, and the company unveiled the Urbino 18 bi-articulated electric bus in 2013. In 2019, the launch of the Urbino 24 electric contributed to the development of a platform for bi-articulated buses. In 2020, Solaris gained attention again with the unveiling of its first-ever intercity e-bus, the Urbino 15 LE electric. Most recently, in 2021, Solaris introduced the Urbino 9 LE electrical, the latest addition to the company’s line of electric buses.

Solar currently produces around 1500 buses every year, nearly half of which feature electric drives. Purchase orders have shown a marked increase in demand for alternative power sources over the years, indicating a growing number of cities adopting zero-emission transportation. As such, Solaris has made significant contributions to the shift towards an electric bus industry, having sold and delivered thousands of them.

Throughout this journey, Solaris has been at the forefront of innovative solutions in public transportation. In 2021, the company’s Solaris Urbino 15 LE Electric Bus received the Sustainable Bus Award, a prestigious recognition of the vehicle’s tremendous contribution to sustainable public transport. The program, designed to increase awareness of the importance of eco-friendly public transit, is an international competition that underscores the vital role of buses and coaches in mitigating climate change. Solaris’ achievement in this field is a testament to its commitment to advancing innovative solutions and sustainable practices in public transportation.

So, while the company doesn’t have big news to share every month, all of these small stories add up to a bigger story that’s probably worth following if you’re interested in or work in the cleantech space. It’s also part of the wider story of transit electrification, which is an area that stands to help the climate and air pollution in key places globally.

If you live in Europe and you’ve taken a ride in an Urbino electric bus, we’d like to hear about your experiences, too! Be sure to tell us about them in the comments or reach out to us on social media. Did it make a big difference in comfort and noise? How do you feel that the buses enhanced your city?

Featured image provided 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