New Solaris buses can be equipped with higher energy dense Solaris High Energy+ batteries and silicon carbide (SiC) inverters

Solaris is another European electric bus manufacturer that has introduced at the Busworld exhibition in Brussels a really big battery option for its buses.

The articulated Solaris Urbino 18 electric can be ordered now with up to 553 kWh of batteries (Solaris High Energy+ batteries), which should be enough to provide at least 200 km (124 miles) of range in the worst case scenario. We guess that normal range is above 300 km (186 miles).

The other premieres from Solaris were Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen and Solaris Trollino 24 – a bi-articulated trolleybus.

According to Solaris, the company already delivered over 200 electric buses, while hundreds more were ordered (usually there are months or even over a year of waiting between placing a customized order and delivering buses).

The Solaris Urbino 18 electric with new Solaris High Energy+ batteries, supplied by BMZ Poland, can take up to 120 passengers:

"What is an absolute novelty is the new-generation Solaris High Energy+ batteries which the manufacturer is showing in Brussels for the first time. The batteries stand out on account of their high energy density, thanks to which the bus will easily be able to cover 200 km on a single charging session, irrespective of road and weather conditions. However, the perfected parameters of the energy storage will also allow to maintain a still significant passenger load at a much increased range – there will be room for 120 people on board of the articulated electric bus, 40 of them seated. 7 battery packs with a total capacity of 553 kWh have been installed in the Urbino 18 electric. 3 batteries have been stowed away in the rear end of the vehicle, and four – on the roof of the first section. The bus is charged via a plug-in connector or pantograph charging  - depends on operator’s preferences.

To keep the range high during colder weather, buses are also equipped with a heat pump.

Surprisingly, the silicon carbide (SiC) power electronics are already utilized in traction inverters in Solaris, which should keep the efficiency of the buses at a state-of-the-art level.

"Yet another innovation applied in the vehicle is a traction inverter produced in the originative SiC technology, i.e. using silicon carbide. Owing to this, the device can operate at higher voltage, frequencies and temperatures, which in turn, results in a significant reduction of the mass and size of the power converter and in a general increase in efficiency of the whole system."

Gallery: Solaris Urbino 18 electric

Solaris battery offer consist three major lines:

  • Solaris High Power:
    29 kWh packs, up to 7 in single vehicle for up to 203 kWh
    up to 4C charging (at 800 A), up to 560 kW
  • Solaris High Energy:
    50 kWh packs, up to 7 in a single vehicle for up to 350 kWh
  • Solaris High Energy+ (new):
    79 kWh packs, up to 7 in a single vehicle for up to 553 kWh

"New development – Solaris High Energy+

The firm’s latest development are the Solaris High Energy+ batteries. These were designed by the Solaris Research and Development Department, bearing in mind the needs of carriers who want to cover at least 200 km on a single charge, regardless of the weather conditions, and thus regardless of air-conditioning or heating working.

The Solaris High Energy+ batteries are characterised by an extremely high energy density. Thanks to this feature, we manage to fit 79 kWh into one pack! This means that in the case of 7 packs – that is how many can be installed in an articulated bus at the most – we reach a nominal energy rate of 553 kWh! And 5 packs of that battery will fit into a 12-metre bus. This battery type can be recharged using a power equalling its capacity.

It may be worth underscoring that the solution is the result of cooperation between the Solaris and BZM Poland Research and Development Departments. Batteries of this type can be used only in Solaris vehicles and as of today, no other producer in the electric bus market is offering them.

The contractor executing the design initiated by Solaris is BMZ Poland, a leading European manufacturer of intelligent power supply and energy storage systems based on lithium-ion technology.

All of the above batteries, which are offered with electric buses of Solaris, boast a nominal voltage ranging between 600 and 700 V. The energy storage tanks used in the Urbino electric are capable of working in temperatures between -15 and +50 degrees Celsius. In order to optimise their efficiency, and to extend their service life, they are warmed up or cooled down. The battery cooling system is based on liquid-cooling."

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Solaris Urbino 18 electric

Nowadays, the distinctive line of the articulated Urbino 18 electric is known to many operators; over 200 models have been commissioned by clients so far. The bus displayed at the Busworld, however, has been uniquely equipped.

What is an absolute novelty is the new-generation Solaris High Energy+ batteries which the manufacturer is showing in Brussels for the first time. The batteries stand out on account of their high energy density, thanks to which the bus will easily be able to cover 200 km on a single charging session, irrespective of road and weather conditions. However, the perfected parameters of the energy storage will also allow to maintain a still significant passenger load at a much increased range – there will be room for 120 people on board of the articulated electric bus, 40 of them seated. 7 battery packs with a total capacity of 553 kWh have been installed in the Urbino 18 electric. 3 batteries have been stowed away in the rear end of the vehicle, and four – on the roof of the first section. The bus is charged via a plug-in connector or pantograph charging  - depends on operator’s preferences.

The Solaris Urbino 18 electric on display has also been equipped with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) which significantly increase both travel comfort and – above all – safety. The Mobileye Shield+ device remedies the risk of collisions with pedestrians or cyclists thanks to a system of smart cameras which constantly monitor the so-called blind spots in a vehicle. The driver is alerted to potential dangers with audio and visual signals.

What is more, the electric Solaris will feature the system initiating automatic braking, i.e. the CMS (Collision Mitigation System). When a radar installed on top of the bus detects the risk of a potential head-on collision, the system goes into braking mode, reducing velocity and thus alleviating the consequences of a potential collision.

Where the side mirrors would be conventionally, the 18-meter Solaris features cameras that ensure improved visibility not only in bright sunlight, but also during rain or snowfall, as well as at night. What is more, the cameras increase the field of view substantially and they improve the aerodynamics of the vehicle. This new solution is already available for the whole Urbino family.

In order to reduce the energy consumption as much as possible, the articulated Urbino electric features air conditioning with a heat pump which uses heat from the outside to generate an adequate temperature inside the vehicle. This device uses carbon dioxide as the working medium which is currently considered the most environment-friendly solution. The implementation of the CO2 heat pump is intended to enhance the energy efficacy of the vehicle, and thus increase its drive range, but also to reduce noxiousness.

Yet another innovation applied in the vehicle is a traction inverter produced in the originative SiC technology, i.e. using silicon carbide. Owing to this, the device can operate at higher voltage, frequencies and temperatures, which in turn, results in a significant reduction of the mass and size of the power converter and in a general increase in efficiency of the whole system.

 

 

The new generation batteries – Solaris High Energy+
ADAS systems in Solaris buses.

  • Solaris launching new generation Solaris High Energy+ batteries at Busworld 2019
  • At least 200 km on a single charge, regardless of the weather conditions
  • New ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) solutions in Solaris vehicles increasing comfort and safety

Solaris batteries range for electric buses on offer

Back in 2011, when Solaris unveiled its first electric bus, its offer included only one battery option. Over the next years the company has remarkably extended its technical competence in this area. Over 20 million kilometres covered by the Urbino electric buses and experience gathered from the operation of vehicles in dozens of cities in various climates make it possible for Solaris today to offer the optimal battery solutions to its customers. Today, Solaris offers the following batteries to its electric buses: Solaris High Power, Solaris High Energy and Solaris High Energy+.

Solaris High Power

Solaris High Power batteries are characterised by a high “power density”. In practice, this means that the batteries can be recharged with high current, and consequently we can recharge them very quickly. These batteries come in packs with a nominal capacity of 29 kWh each. We can install up to 7 packs in one bus, which sums up to a maximum total capacity of over 200 kWh. Crucially, the batteries have a long life and a significant number of charging cycles. The firm is able to ensure an unlimited number of cycles over a period of 7 years.

Generally, the Solaris High Power battery can be charged using electricity equivalent to four times the capacity (4C). Thus, assuming that the bus features a battery of that type with a capacity of 116 kWh, then the maximum charging power for that battery will be 450 kW. Of course, engineers prefer to express the same parameter in ampere, because we do not use the same power throughout the whole battery charging process. So in fact we ought to say that the maximum current battery charging amperage amounts to 800 A. So far, Solaris has provided fast-charging pantograph stations for batteries of the High Power type with varying charging powers, reaching up to 560 kW!

The Solaris High Power batteries are used in circumstances when the frequent discharge and also recharge of batteries, usually using pantograph chargers, is assumed. Of course, power can be replenished also using plug-in charging stations. This is a perfect solution for those transport systems where fast pantograph charging stations, deployed along the vehicle route or at line terminals, are used to recharge electric buses. This type of battery has been installed by Solaris in electric buses operating in Brussels, Warsaw or Barcelona, for instance. It is worth noting that High Power batteries are also applied in the Trollino trolleybuses.

Solaris High Energy

The second type of batteries on offer are the Solaris High Energy. These have a relatively high capacity and are usually used in circumstances where a smaller number of “refills” during the day is assumed. The maximum charging power of that battery in kW corresponds to its energy capacity expressed in kWh. The nominal capacity of packs in that battery totals 50 kWh. The maximum, standard number of Solaris High Energy packs amounts to six for a 12-metre bus and to seven for an 18-metre vehicle. When applying this type of battery, we have the possibility to reach a nominal capacity of 350 kWh.

This is a solid solution for those operators who prefer a smaller number of recharging sessions throughout the day. Most often though, the energy in this type of battery is replenished at night, using chargers located at bus depots, i.e. when the buses are not running.

New development – Solaris High Energy+

The firm’s latest development are the Solaris High Energy+ batteries. These were designed by the Solaris Research and Development Department, bearing in mind the needs of carriers who want to cover at least 200 km on a single charge, regardless of the weather conditions, and thus regardless of air-conditioning or heating working.

The Solaris High Energy+ batteries are characterised by an extremely high energy density. Thanks to this feature, we manage to fit 79 kWh into one pack! This means that in the case of 7 packs – that is how many can be installed in an articulated bus at the most – we reach a nominal energy rate of 553 kWh! And 5 packs of that battery will fit into a 12-metre bus. This battery type can be recharged using a power equalling its capacity.

It may be worth underscoring that the solution is the result of cooperation between the Solaris and BZM Poland Research and Development Departments. Batteries of this type can be used only in Solaris vehicles and as of today, no other producer in the electric bus market is offering them.

The contractor executing the design initiated by Solaris is BMZ Poland, a leading European manufacturer of intelligent power supply and energy storage systems based on lithium-ion technology.

All of the above batteries, which are offered with electric buses of Solaris, boast a nominal voltage ranging between 600 and 700 V. The energy storage tanks used in the Urbino electric are capable of working in temperatures between -15 and +50 degrees Celsius. In order to optimise their efficiency, and to extend their service life, they are warmed up or cooled down. The battery cooling system is based on liquid-cooling.