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The #solaris #urbino has been named best city #bus of the year 2017. It is the first title of this kind awarded to a Polish manufacturer, and at the same time it is the first time in the history of the competition that the award goes to a battery-driven vehicle. The official award-giving ceremony will take place during the IAA trade fair in Hanover.
This year’s competition for #bus of the year was held in Brussels and lasted from 30 May until 3 June. Five vehicles of the makes Ebusco, Irizar, Van Hool, #solaris and Mercedes competed for the ultimate prize. The first four producers entered the contest with electric buses, while Mercedes chose a natural gas (CNG) fuelled vehicle.
The new #solaris #urbino 12 electric, which was evaluated by a jury of editors from 20 countries, has been equipped with 240 kWh batteries. Two charging systems have been installed in the #bus: one using a pantograph, for charging during stopovers at #bus stops, the other one using a plug-in for charging in the #bus depot. During the competition in Brussels the battery-powered Solaris was charged by way of a new-generation charger with a power output of 80 kW, designed and produced by Ekoenergetyka-Polska. The mobile charger of the plug-in type was connected to a post with a pantograph specially devised for this purpose. Thanks to this solution the driving range of the electric #urbino is practically unlimited.
Over the course of several days of rigorous testing the jury members assessed both measurable features, such as acceleration, the stopping distance, the vibrations and noise level, as well as subjective impressions of the jurors regarding the drive, as the jurors took on the role of both drivers and passengers. The task of the jury was by no means easy, even more so as it was the first time they had to review so many battery-powered vehicles.
– It is definitely a symbol of changes that affect modern public transport in cities nowadays. Back in 2006 the founder and owner of #solaris, Krzysztof Olszewski, exclaimed: “Diesel has died. Long live electricity.“ Today we are proving that these visionary words have become reality. Our firm has been an Europe-wide leader with regards to the development of innovative electric drive vehicles for over ten years now. We have been producing battery trolleybuses since 2001, and battery buses – since 2011. The latter are already operating in several dozen European cities. They are equipped with various types of batteries and have differing charging systems, and they can operate for up to 24 hours a day. The solutions applied in the vehicles depend on the expectations of our customers. We reckon that electric buses are the future of public transport in cities. Undoubtedly they will not completely replace other vehicles currently used in public transport, but they are an excellent, emission-free and noiseless supplement in car fleets”, says Dr Andreas Strecker, CEO of #solaris #bus & Coach S.A.
The comparative test was completed on 3rd June. However, in line with the competition rules, manufacturers had to wait for the results until the last week of August.
“The nearly three months of waiting for the outcome have not been easy for us. But, it turns out that it pays off to be patient and in the end we received fantastic news. The #bus of the year 2017 is no other than our own electric #solaris Urbino! We have proven that electric buses of our make are mature and at the same time innovative products which can effectively be used in modern and sustainable city transport. This prestigious award is the result of great teamwork of all #solaris employees, as well as that of our suppliers and development partners. It is also a prize that we would not have been won, had it not been for our competition. We owe it to competitors that we are constantly driven to develop and improve our products, which both operators and passengers benefit from,” explained Dr Andreas Strecker.
The #bus of The Year contest for the best city #bus has been organised since 1989. The winning vehicle receives the title of best #bus for the whole next year, in the case of the current edition this would be the year 2017. The organizer of this event is the ACE (Association of Commercial Vehicle Editors), i.e. an association of European editors of periodicals devoted to utility vehicles, such as buses. The competition is held every two years. Each edition is hosted by another jury member. This year’s #bus Euro Test edition took place in Brussels. The official “Bus of the Year 2017” prize awarding ceremony will take place during the IAA fair in Hannover, scheduled for September.
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