The new Solaris Urbino is a completely new engineering design. Despite being lighter, it is more robust. There is a host of newly developed features that improve all characteristics of the bus, while reliable, tried and tested components of its predecessor have been maintained. The new exterior design will be sure to turn heads, yet the new Urbino will continue to be an easily recognizable member of the Solaris product family.
Introducing to both lighter and robust construction
The new bodyframe design provides the same robust rigidity - made from the same noncorrosive materials as before - while being significantly lighter in weight. The new concept of placing and shaping horizontal profiles also reduces the vehicle weight. In the new Solaris, many technical solutions have been implemented. Redesigned stronger connections between vertical and horizontal steel profiles have been used. The flooring uses a combination of stainless steel sheets and plywood. The former is an integral part of the chassis and reinforces the bodyframe, while also providing strong protection against inclement weather. The bodyframe was also prepared for the placement of compressed air tanks at the front of the bus.
Skin-on-skin assembly ensures efficient production flows as well as highly distinguished aesthetics. Service accessibility is improved with screwed body paneling, allowing quick replacement and repair in case of damage. Hatches now open to 170°, 40° more than until now, to facilitate easy access to components.
The engine tower has been prepared to fit engines of different sizes. Both engines used in the new vehicles - the newly developed DAF MX-11 (PACCAR) as well as the Cummins ISB6.7E6 meet the restrictive Euro 6 limits. Cummins will also provide the ISLG8.9E6 powered by compressed natural gas (CNG).
The new Solaris Urbino has been designed not just for the use of small and large Euro 6 diesel engines. Gas-fuelled engines, diesel-electric hybrids and electric drives have all been considered from the start. It will be also available as a trolleybus, the Trollino.
Welcome to a spacious and inviting interior
The lower unladen weight of the new bus is expected to lower fuel consumption by an average of one litre per one hundred kilometres. Axle loads are better distributed by shifting some of the weight from the drive axle to the front of the bus, including a centralized assembly of all compressed air tanks at the front. The changes deliver a higher passenger carrying capacity, better drive dynamics and improved servicing. Improved insulation will lower operating costs and raise comfort levels.
The interior will be free of vibrations, while the bus is quieter than its predecessors. At a noise level of 74.8 dBA it remains well below international standards (including the European limit of 80 dBA and the more stringent 77 dBA level in Germany).
High standards of comfort for passengers are not only achieved through a larger pedestal-free floor area (up to 16 seats in 12-metre version, up to 24 in articulated vehicle), but also thanks to wider and higher doors which improve passenger flows. On two-door standard buses, there is an option to move the second door further to the back.
Passengers will enjoy the bright interior and the high number of pedestal-free seats, which has been made possible by positioning the fuel tanks on the front wheel arches. Energy-efficient LED lighting is available both inside the bus as well as for all exterior lamps.
Getting on and off more efficiently
High standards of comfort for passengers are not only achieved through a larger pedestal-free floor area, but also thanks to wider and higher doors, which improve passenger flows. On two-door standard buses, there is an option to move the second door further to the back.
Standard width of doors is 1230 mm, but a 20 mm wider version is optionally available. Height ranges between 1970 mm and 2000 mm. Another key change in the Urbino 12 in this very area is a relocation of second door to the back on the width of one panel. This solution has also been used in Urbino 18. It will certainly help passengers move more efficiently.
Higher driving culture
Drivers will find an ergonomic cab, with the seat raised 50 mm higher than previously. Along with the panoramic windscreen, excellent visibility is offered. Thanks to the higher seating position, drivers will also enjoy improved interaction with passengers. Brilliant visibility is additionally ensured by widescreen, much bigger in comparison to previous Urbinos.
The drivers' cab is much more ergonomic thanks to the modern, intuitive touch-screen dashboard, also available in Solaris electric buses and trams.
The new Solaris buses are equipped with LED technology for interior lighting. Energy-efficient LED lighting is available in exterior lamps as well. There is an option to install halogen or xenon lighting there.
Handling of the new Solaris Urbino is made easy by a new, progressive suspension. Optionally, this can be specified to automatically adapt itself to the state of the road, allowing the new Solaris bus to smooth out road quality and speed. This prevents the bus from tilting if curves are taken at higher speeds. Electronic Stability Control is an option.
The roof of the new Solaris Urbino has been lowered by 50 mm without compromising on interior height. With a lower centre of gravity, the new bus is even better and safer to drive.
A unified, expressive design
With the new family of buses, the exterior aspect of low-floor and low-entry buses is unified, along with a harmonization of specification options between buses and trams. The new Solaris Urbino therefore will be an integral part of a recognizable range of public transport vehicles. Solaris fleet operators will value the ability to specify identical components and the need to stock fewer different spare parts, thanks to advanced commonality across the range. This will significantly lower maintenance costs.
The new visual design is expressive of the step change in technology. The rounded lines of the previous models are superseded by a sharper, more dynamic styling. Panels along the roof line screen roof-mounted components to deliver a continuous and harmonious appearance. The futuristic lines of the body are an expression of Solaris's forward-looking approach and will be sure to draw the attention of passengers and passers-by. Operators will find the new Solaris Urbino a bus whose mere appearance will raise standards and deliver even more attractive public transport.
The launch of the new Solaris starts a new chapter in the company's history. Plenty of opportunities for development arise with the new line of vehicles. It is also a guarantee for full competitiveness in a rapidly changingmarket. The aim of Solaris was to create a modern and attractive bus, a vehicle that is appealing and comfortable so it will be able not only to encourage passengers to use public transport, but also to make them not want to go back to their cars.
Photo: Solaris Urbino (2015)