Electric bus tests in Bonn 2021
The fourth edition of electric bus tests in Bonn, carried out by German trade magazine Omnibusspiegel, has been concluded. Carriers and journalists from all over Europe once again had the opportunity to examine vehicles hands-on and to compare the models made by various manufacturers. The Solaris Urbino electric, for obvious reasons, had to be there too.
In the first edition conducted in 2016, a closer look was taken at solo buses, whereas two years later articulated buses were examined. In 2019, 12-metre vehicles were again the subject of the test. This year, after a break due to the pandemic, the test focused again on articulated vehicles. However, this time the number of manufacturers that put their vehicles on trial doubled, from three to six. What is more, half of the tested buses, including the Urbino 18 electric unit, were vehicles that are in regular service under normal operating conditions. Additionally, there were two 12-metre buses available, yet they didn’t take part in the test. However, this allowed all interested parties to gain an insight into the wide spectrum of solutions applied in the industry.
Electric bus tests in pratice
It is worth bearing in mind that the format of the tests doesn’t foreseea direct comparison of technical and operational parameters. Bothdemo vehicles and those already delivered to customers take partin the test. They feature different battery capacities, motors andheating and air conditioning systems. The test procedure is above allabout the opportunity to drive the bus as a driver on a designatedroute. This perspective is particularly important for journalists andrepresentatives of carriers. They can check to what extent the specifiedparameters, applied solutions and manufacturers’ assurances arereflected in reality.
The main part of the event took place from 26 to 28 October2021. Before starting the test runs, presentations were held bymanufacturers, sub-suppliers and carriers. Then, in accordance withthe schedule, journalists and representatives of operators had achance to drive on a test route as drivers or passengers. If needed, they were accompanied by employees of a given bus manufacturer, who answered any questions and supported the drivers in the optimal use of the vehicles’ capabilities.
The route was 19 km long and went through diverse areas. The buses were tested in typical city traffic, as well as on road sections with higher speed limits and a noticeable slope. The vehicles stopped at bus stops so as to best reflect how they operate under real conditions. The journalists also completed a questionnaire on the driving experience, noise level and execution quality. One of the parameters measured by organisers was energy consumption. Due to the diversity of the vehicles, only the consumption range will be published, without indicating concrete values achieved by individual manufacturers. As part of the test drives, the electric Urbino bus covered almost 300 km with different drivers at the wheel.
Urbino 18 electric from Bonn
The Solaris Urbino 18 electric that took part in the tests can be called a local vehicle, as it was borrowed for the tests from the Bonn-based operator Stadtwerke Bonn Bus und Bahn (SWB). The bus was one of three vehicles supplied by Solaris to this client last year. They are equipped with seven packs of High Energy batteries with a total capacity of over 560 kWh. In addition, the buses use a CO2 heat pump, which is an efficient and environmentally friendly solution compared to other technologies, that also helps to reduce energy consumption.
Our bus earned recognition from both drivers and service staff, who appreciated the solutions used by Solaris compared to its competitors. The event was also an excellent opportunity to talk to each other and to exchange experiences with representatives of the media, carriers and manufacturers on how the market and technology is developing. The next round of tests is slated for spring 2023.
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The Green Deal is a strategic transition plan to achieve climate neutrality for the European Union by 2050.