New batteries for Solaris electric buses
In Europe, Solaris is presenting its Urbino 12 Electric battery-powered solo bus and the new Urbino 18.75 Electric articulated bus offshoot. The two electric buses are sporting a new generation of batteries and are being shown at the Transexpo public transport exhibition currently taking place in Kielce, Poland.
The Urbino 12 Electric is now equipped with a new battery pack with a capacity of over 520 kWh, which should allow a range of about 300 km in different road and weather conditions. Batteries with a capacity of over 520 kWh are also found in the new electric articulated bus from the Urbino series.
The fourth-generation articulated electric bus has been lengthened to 18.75 metres to increase passenger capacity. As a result, it now bears the designation Urbino 18.75 Electric. The exceptional length made it possible to install three areas for wheelchair users, while maintaining passenger capacity of 138 people, 41 of whom can be seated.
Safety appears to have been a big priority for the Polish bus maker here; conventional mirrors have been replaced by cameras and a MobilEye system so the driver can use wide-angle cameras that allow them a 360-degree bird’s eye view. Solaris has also equipped the bus with a dusk and rain sensor, as well as an automatic device to detect driver’s fatigue.
Solaris points out that the Urbino 18.75 electric bus is one of 183 similar units ordered by public transport operator Unibuss AS from Oslo. Unibuss expects the electric buses to arrive in Oslo in spring 2023. For Solaris, this is the largest single order to date.
The Urbino 12 Electric bus is a familiar sight on the streets of Europe, where Solaris says that it now numbers more than 800 vehicles. The popular electric bus can be charged using one of the two plug-in sockets, one placed above the wheel arch, and another one at the front of the vehicle. Solaris says the bus features an electric axle with two integrated electric motors with 125 kW each, pointing out that the propulsion system was manufactured using what it says is energy-saving SiC technology.
Safety has taken priority at Solaris in another way recently. The Polish bus maker has now also complemented its portfolio of after-sales tools with eSSyncroService, which utilises augmented reality for bus repairs. Using special goggles, the technician can display technical documents with a voice command and access these while having their hands free to work on the bus. Solaris says that this use of the augmented reality (AR) technology in servicing buses has the benefit of the possibility to contact Solaris experts remotely, who can then lead the technician step by step through the repair. This shortens the time the vehicle is unavailable. Another aspect of the new eSSyncroService is that Solaris has now made it obligatory for employees to confirm that they have taken all necessary precautions, which increases their safety.
Solaris also presented its new hydrogen bus Urbino 18 Hydrogen this year in the run-up to the IAA Transportation trade fair in Germany. This is the bus makers’ second hydrogen-powered model after the Urbino 12 Hydrogen, which has also proven popular despite the more involved infrastructure requirements.