At the UITP Global Public Transport Summit 2019 in Stockholm, Solaris unveiled two new zero-emission buses. The battery-powered Urbino 12 electric was given an updated design, while the Urbino 12 hydrogen, a fuel cell bus, adds a new drive option to the range.
The buses are equipped with a 60 kW fuel cell and several batteries. The batteries are charged either by recuperation during braking, by the fuel cell or by plug. Should the hydrogen run out, the Urbino 12 hydrogen can also be refueled at a charging station. The bus is driven by an axle with two integrated electric motors, each with an output of 125 kW. Solaris indicates a range of up to 350 kilometres.
The hydrogen is stored in gaseous form under pressure of 250 atm in five containers arranged alongside the roof. The new tanks will be around 20 percent lighter than their predecessors. The composite gas tanks, which are arranged alongside the first axis, can store 36.8 kg of hydrogen. In order to keep energy consumption as low as possible, a CO2 heat pump using waste heat from the fuel cell is installed in the vehicle.
Solaris gained its first hydrogen experience during the development of battery buses with fuel cells as range extenders. As part of the JIVE project, Solaris delivered two Urbino 18.75 electric buses to Hamburg and 10 trolleybuses to Riga. In both cases, the vehicles were equipped with fuel cells as range extenders. Now the first series model follows.
Solaris has already found its first customer for the Urbino 12 hydrogen: As the company announced at the beginning of June, public transport operator SASA Bolzano from South Tyrol has purchased twelve hydrogen buses from Poland. The order also includes an eight-year maintenance and service package. During the UITP Global Public Transport Summit, representatives of Solaris and Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP) signed a contract to test the Urbino 12 hydrogen. The operator will test the Solaris hydrogen bus in regular passenger service in Paris for 10 weeks (April to June 2020).
The manufacturer from Bolechowo does not see any competition between electric buses with batteries and fuel cells. Hydrogen supplements the “different customer needs in terms of range, flexibility and operating options”. “Therefore, hydrogen-powered Solaris buses will not compete with Trollino battery or trolleybuses in this sense,” according to a press release. “On the contrary, these technologies will complement each other perfectly and will be able to draw on technical progress in electric drives and their components.”
Incidentally, Solaris presented their first electrically powered bus in 2011. Since then, the company has reported that it has received orders for more than 400 electric vehicles. They operate in 61 cities in 17 countries. And another city should be added shortly: According to Solaris, another contract has been signed within Poland: ten Urbino 12 electric buses and the associated charging infrastructure are being prepared for delivery on behalf of the Municipal Office for Roads and Public Transport in Radom. The order is to be completed by mid-June 2020. Like all models of the Urbino and Trollino families, the electric will be delivered in a new design this year.