The 20,000th bus has just rolled out of the Solaris factory gates in Bolechowo, near Poznań. Since having produced its first vehicle, Solaris’ product portfolio has undergone revolutionary changes. Today, the company is a leader among producers of electric buses in Europe. The jubilee Solaris vehicle is an articulated Urbino electric bus sporting the colours of Warsaw operator MZA. It is also the last of the vehicles delivered as part of a large order placed by the capital of Poland, for 130 electric buses.
Solaris has been producing innovative and environmentally friendly buses since 1996. Today, the 20,000th vehicle manufactured in the Solaris factory has rolled out onto the streets of Warsaw. Its MZA bus fleet number is 5999. This electric Urbino 18 is quiet, exceedingly comfortable and produces no emissions. The bus that will be carrying Warsaw residents as of today is the last of the vehicles delivered by Solaris under a huge order for 130 electric buses placed by Warsaw in 2019. Operator MZA in Warsaw is definitely the biggest – and incidentally also one of the first – clients of Solaris. The municipal carrier has purchased over 1200 Solaris vehicles of various generations so far, and this includes 150 ultramodern electric buses.
“If you take a look at the first and at the latest generation of Solaris vehicles of the Urbino range, you will definitely notice the enormous progress made in public transport. It is not only about the advancement of technology and the design of vehicles, although this area, too, has undergone an impressive transformation. For Solaris though, the most important change that has happened in the industry over the past two decades is the transition of priorities towards clean drivelines, and consequently, towards the quality of life of city inhabitants,” noted Javier Calleja, CEO of Solaris.
The producer has recognised the future prospects of electric drives long before the launch of its first electric bus. Since 2001, Solaris has been producing zero-emission trolleybuses. Solaris’ experience stemming from the assembly of over 1600 Trollinos, currently cruising in dozens of cities, elevates the company to the top of rankings of European manufacturers of such vehicles. 2006 marked yet another step on the path of development of the firm. That was the year the hybrid bus Urbino hybrid – the first serially produced bus of its type in Europe – had its debut. A milestone for the company, 2011 was the year Solaris unveiled its first Urbino electric, which catapulted the company to the rank of sector pioneer and defined the DNA of Solaris. From that moment on, the firm has been investing above all else in the perfection of zero-emission technology.
Today the firm manufactures over 1500 buses annually, with nearly half of these featuring electric drives and a clear majority of these not generating gas emissions. With every year passing the firm reinforces its position as leader of electromobility in public transport in Europe. In the first three quarters of 2020, Solaris was the biggest maker of battery buses. A flagship model, the Solaris Urbino 12 electric was the winner of the prestigious Bus of the Year 2017 award.
The jubilee bus of Solaris – the 20,000th Urbino – is also an electric vehicle. That bus will be deployed to the line 503, which is served exclusively by zero-emission vehicles. Painted in the red and yellow coat of MZA, the bus will be stationed at the depot Stalowa, where its batteries will get recharged overnight.
The last of the 130 electric buses does not mark the end of the impressive purchasing strategy of MZA though. According to the plans of the operator, by 2027 half of all the 1,500 Warsaw-based buses are to be either low- or zero-emission. Even though Warsaw residents have already got used to quieter and state-of-the-art electric buses in their city, it may be worth underscoring that the urban public transport transformation currently witnessed in Warsaw is one of the most dynamic and extensive changes of its kind in all of Europe.
20,000 vehicles have rolled off the production lines of Solaris, going all the way to 32 states in Europe and elsewhere, too. This is possible thanks to the trust put in the firm by clients and thanks to the commitment of the Solaris staff. Measures undertaken by the company for a modern and clean municipal transport have one overriding goal: to foster a real improvement of the quality of life in cities. With thousands of more vehicles Solaris wants to change the face of public transport which is a foundation of modern, sustainable metropolises.
Images courtesy of Solaris