Solaris debuts electric bus for urban and intercity transport: Urbino 15 LE

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 21 Oct 2020

The new Solaris Urbino 15 LE electric, a new electric model in the Solaris Bus & Coach portfolio, had its premiere yesterday. It is the first electric bus of Solaris dedicated to both urban and intercity transport.

According to Solaris, the Urbino 15 LE electric will make it possible for operators to plan zero-emission routes not only within the city confines but also beyond these. This bus will be also an excellent, environmentally friendly alternative for diesel vehicles currently used in that segment.

The Urbino 15 LE offers a flexible solution for operators: a low entry bus, large range on a single charge and a wide range of options for additional equipment to meet the needs of both urban traffic and suburban routes. A variety of technical solutions also allows the bus configuration to be perfectly tailored to individual operator needs.

Extended range
The heart of the Urbino 15 LE electric is a 300 kW electric motor. To boost efficiency and to reduce energy consumption even further, the propulsion was made in the innovative SIC technology, i.e. by using silicon carbide-based circuits. The motor is liquid-cooled, whereas the driving power is transmitted to the second axle of the vehicle. Energy derived from a set of 6 batteries, with a total capacity of 470 kWh, is fed into the propulsion system. Four packs have been installed in the rear of the bus, the remaining two have been mounted on the roof.

The latest-generation Solaris High Energy+ batteries offer ranges of up to a few hundred kilometres on a single charge. This bus is the answer to expectations of municipal carriers, as well as intercity transport operators. The batteries in the new model can be recharged in fast mode, using a pantograph – both a conventional, roof-mounted one, as well as an inverted one, lowered onto the bus roof at the charging station. Moreover, each model of the tri-axle electric bus is fitted with a plug-in connector for recharging vehicles on the premises of a bus depot. For the convenience of the clients, the producer has devised four options of placing the charging plug-in in a bus: it may be placed above the first axle in the left or right part of the vehicle, in the front of it or in its back.

The newly released model features an air-conditioning system with a heat pump function, which uses heat drawn in from outside to reach the right vehicle temperature. This solution allows to raise the energy efficiency of the vehicle, which translates directly to a widened driving range. The device uses carbon dioxide as the working fluid. The Urbino 15 LE electric guarantees comfortable travel conditions not  only due to the quiet and smooth operation of the motor, reduced vibrations and the lack of any exhaust gasses whatsoever.

High on safety
Urbino 15 LE electric is a modern combination of safety, comfort and style. The air-conditioned interior of the showcased bus holds 53 seats which offer a relaxing and pleasant ride. There are two additional folding seats. What is more, two seats in the novel vehicle are fitted with ISOFIX – i.e. a system that enables the securing of a child seat. Passengers with children will surely appreciate this save and practical solution. It is worth recalling that in the two-door version the Urbino 15 LE electric can hold up to 65 proper seats.

The infrastructure of the vehicle has been designed in line with ITxPT standards. Three large screens created by Solaris engineers shall ensure legible information for passengers. What is more, the Urbino 15 LE electric is fully adapted to be integrated with the company’s own remote fleet management system, dubbed eSConnect, which ensures full telemetry, data analysis and the servicing of defects that have already appeared, as well as some episodes that might emerge in the near future.

The interactive driver’s panel with touch-screens combines many advanced security functions. Starting with warnings advising the fastening of seatbelts, automatically switched on lights and windscreen  wipers, wide-angle cameras in lieu of side mirrors that ensure excellent visibility, and ending with the active driver assistance system Mobileye Shield+. These innovative solutions render the problem of so-called blind spots void for all times. What is more, the Mobileye Shield+ notably lowers the risk of direct collisions with pedestrians and vehicles, by detecting their presence around the vehicle and notifying the driver about them using audio and visual alerts.

The first two Solaris Urbino 15 LE electric were made chiefly with Scandinavian operators in mind. That is also why the presented bus will feature special solutions in compliance with Busnordic norms and the so-called Scandinavian package. Bearing in mind the tough climate conditions, the designers made sure that both thermal and travel comfort are ensured during rides. Vehicles of this type may contain other components that facilitate their operation in difficult conditions – for instance additional high beams, a sandspreader or a cache for snow chains.

Solaris, which has considerable experience with production of 15-metre tri-axle buses, has thus far delivered nearly 1,300 vehicles of that type to customers.