Solaris unveiled its latest vehicle, the 9-metre low-entry Urbino 9 LE electric, which provides an excellent link between the urban and suburban road network across conurbations.
The Solaris Urbino 9 LE electric has been standardised with all other vehicles of the 4th generation. Alongside the Urbino 15 LE electric bus, this low-entry electric bus is yet another option in Solaris’s electric range that meets the requirements for both vehicle classes I and II. Its compact dimensions will not only perform brilliantly in cramped city spaces, but also on steep climbs and on tight mountain bends. The vehicle has been designed in such a way that its interior can be adapted to class I or class II type approval requirements.
The Urbino 9 LE electric bus is equipped with an electric central motor with a peak power output of 220 kW. The motor is liquid-cooled, and the driving power is transmitted to the second axle of the vehicle. The propulsion system in the new model is powered by energy stored in Solaris High Energy batteries, i. e. ones with a higher energy density, which are characterised by higher capacity and are mainly recharged at night. The maximum capacity of High Energy batteries for the Urbino 9 LE electric bus amounts to over 350 kWh. Customers of the latest model can also opt for Solaris High Power batteries designed for fast high power charging overnight.
The batteries can be recharged conventionally using a plug-in connection. In addition, there is an option to mount a pantograph, of which there are three types, on the roof. Apart from a conventional pantograph, customers can opt for new fast-charging solutions. Solaris also offers an inverted pantograph, which up until now hasn’t been available for the 8.9 version. Another possible option is a completely new type of pantograph with a higher working range than competing solutions. This allows it to recharge vehicles of various heights. Just as in the case of other electric buses manufactured by Solaris, all available solutions can be customised according to the preferences of customers and thus be compatible with the existing or planned charging infrastructure of the operator.
Moreover, the designers of the newly released model have taken care of the comfort of travellers. Increased distance between the seats ensures high travel comfort that also meets the Bus Nordic standards. The modernised design provides more headroom in the rear of the bus, which enhances the quality of the journey. The bus can accommodate any type of air conditioning out of all those available in Solaris’s range, including air conditioning that uses a heat pump. The latter solution, in order to achieve the right vehicle temperature, uses air drawn in from outside. This allows it to boost the energy efficiency of the vehicle and directly translates to a longer driving range.
Despite its compact dimensions, the vehicle has room for a significant number of seats, most of which are forward-facing. The maximum number of seats for both vehicle classes is 27. Passengers will board through doors arranged in a 1-2 layout. What is more, the bus features dedicated spaces for passengers with disabilities or those travelling with prams or pushchairs, as well as seats fitted with ISOFIX, a system that enables child seats to be secured safely. Depending on the installed equipment, the class I vehicle provides space for 73, while the class II vehicle accommodates 60 passengers in total.
Solaris’s new electric model boasts innovative systems to further improve the safety of both passengers and the driver. An interactive driver’s panel combines numerous advanced safety features and provides access to automatic advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). The wide array of solutions includes, among other things, the MirrorEye system, i. e. a set of cameras that replace conventional mirrors and show the driver the area directly around the bus. The problem of blind spots has been solved, in turn, thanks to the Mobileye Shield+ system, which notifies the driver using audio and visual alerts about any pedestrians or vehicles in the vicinity of the bus. What is more, the Urbino 9 LE electric is fully adapted to be integrated with Solaris’s own remote fleet management system, called eSConnect, which ensures full telemetry, data analysis and the servicing not only of defects that have already appeared, but also the prediction of incidents that might occur in the near future.
The first Urbino 9 LE electric buses have already attracted considerable interest and so far Solaris has signed contracts for 17 units of its latest 9-metre bus in total. Next year, due to a contract with operator Società Autobus Servizi d’Area S.p.A, eight units will make their way to the Italian city of Bolzano. The rest of the ordered Urbino 9 LE electrics will roll onto the streets of Polish towns and cities. Six vehicles have been purchased by the town of Żyrardów, two units by Cieszyn, and one by a customer from Zawiercie. These orders are proof that the newest bus from Solaris’s electric offering is the right choice for both larger cities and smaller towns. The Urbino 9 LE electric is a new model well worth considering when transitioning to more environmentally friendly bus fleets.
Solaris has vast experience with regard to the production of zero-emission vehicles. So far, the manufacturer has supplied almost 3000 such vehicles to its customers. The launch of the smallest electric vehicle available in the Solaris range, i. e. the Urbino 8.9 LE electric bus, took place 10 years ago. Today, a midibus, even more versatile and flexible, designed solely with zero-emission drivelines in mind, has joined Solaris’s range. The new Urbino 9 LE electric is a model constructed using solutions applied in new generation vehicles and which is ideally suited to the needs of the European market.