Solaris Bus & Coach
|Solange Olszewska, Krzysztof Olszewski|
|Total assets||€126.1 million|
|Total equity||€87.6 million|
Number of employees
Solaris Bus & Coach is a Polish producer of public transport vehicles (buses, trolleybuses and trams), with its headquarters in Bolechowo-Osiedle near Poznań. Solaris owns four production sites: its main factory and headquarters in Bolechowo (final assembly of buses and trolleybuses), two plants in Środa Wielkopolska (a welding shop for bodyframes of buses and trolleybuses and a welding shop for tram bodies) as well as a final assembling hall for rolling stock, located in Poznań, in Wieruszowska street.
The firm arose from the enterprise Neoplan Polska established in 1994. A production facility was launched in Bolechowo-Osiedle near Poznań in 1996. The first low-floor bus produced in Bolechowo rolled off the assembly line on 22 March 1996 and it is this very date that is understood as the beginning of the company's history. 1999 saw the première of the first city bus of the Solaris brand – the Solaris Urbino 12. In 2001 the company was rebranded into Solaris Bus & Coach Sp. z o.o., only to be converted from a limited liability company into a joint-stock company. The company is not listed on the stock exchange.
Solaris city buses are available in diverse drive configurations as well as bodywork sizes and types. In 2006, Solaris became the first manufacturer to market, in Europe, the first serially produced hybrid drive bus Solaris Urbino 18 Hybrid. The portfolio of the bus maker covers conventionally fuelled vehicles (diesel) as well as those with an alternative drive (electric, hybrid and CNG buses or trolleybuses). The Solaris Urbino 12 electric was the first Polish, and the first electric bus at that, to win an international title for the year Bus and Coach of the Year 2017. In July 2018, it was announced that the Basque company CAF from Spain had acquired Solaris.
- 1 History
- 2 Company management and staff
- 3 Commercial symbols
- 4 Products
- 5 Production and sales
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
In 1994, Krzysztof Olszewski founded the company Neoplan Polska Sp. z o.o., a branch office for the Polish market of German bus brand Neoplan. In 1995, this enterprise won a tender for the delivery of 72 low-floor city buses for Poznań. The tender was made conditional upon locating the bus manufacturing factory in the vicinity of Poznań. As a result, the company launched an assembly plant for buses in Bolechowo-Osiedle. The first bus produced by Neoplan Polska came fresh off the production line on 22 March 1996. Having carried out the order for Poznań, the firm went on to reach the position of Polish market leader in the segment of low-floor city buses. Initially, the Bolechowo plant manufactured licence-based buses of the Neoplan family:
The buses stood out from other ones thanks to their reliability and the quality of execution, but above all thanks to their innovative design and, which was a novelty back then, its accessibility for elderly and disabled people thanks to the low floor. An element distinguishing the Neoplan buses produced in Poland from those made abroad was the green dachshund logo pasted onto the left-hand corner of the front face. It was supposed to symbolise the low-floor feature of the bus and the simplicity of use. The colour of the dachshund was a reference to the company's environmental commitment in the production of public transport vehicles. The green dachshund has remained the symbol of the company to this day.
In the second half of the 1990s, the company Neoplan Polska expanded its own technical office in charge of research and development. Back then, the company was already using software that allowed it to shorten the time needed to design and build a prototype of a new model. Towards the end of the 1990s Neoplan launched a new generation of city buses. However, Mr Olszewski decided not to launch their production in the Bolechowo plant, as they would not meet with interest in Poland on account of their exorbitant price. Then, in 1998, the Neoplan Polska engineers constructed the first city bus to be produced only in Bolechowo – the Neoplan K4016TD (and its shorter version, the Neoplan K4010TD), for marketing purposes dubbed Olibus. 1999 saw the début of the first city bus of the Solaris Urbino family (see: section City and intercity buses). To begin with Neoplan Polska was tied by its contract with Neoplan, so the company of Mr Olszewski was able to sell buses only in Poland or in countries in central and eastern Europe. In 2001, Neoplan was taken over by German company MAN. That is why on 1 September 2001, the firm Neoplan Polska was turned into a private limited company (pol. spółka z ograniczoną odpowiedzialnością), and its name was changed to Solaris Bus & Coach Sp. z o.o. Krzysztof and Solange Olszewski became the sole owners. From that point on the export of Solaris buses was no longer limited by contracts with Neoplan, and all ties to that company were rendered invalid. On 1 July 2005 the company was transformed into joint-stock company (pol.spółka akcyjna) Solaris Bus & Coach S.A..
Years later Solange Olszewska notes: “My husband and I were looking for a name that would evoke positive connotations in all languages, that would be easy to pronounce and would be related to the future. We were unable to find anything suitable. Then, among hundreds of words, we noticed “solaris” – a simple name, bringing to mind positive associations with sunshine and beginning with the same letter as my first name.
New owner – CAF
On 5 September 2018 CAF acquired 100% of the shares of Solaris Bus & Coach and company was included to the Group CAF. Additionally, CAF has entered into an agreement with the Polish Development Fund – Polski Fundusz Rozwoju – for the acquisition by the latter of a minority stake in Solaris (35%) in the same terms and conditions agreed in by CAF in the acquisition of Solaris.
City and intercity buses
The first buses of the Solaris Urbino family were designed by a group of Polish engineers in collaboration with Berlin-based designer office IFS Designatelier under the leadership of Krzysztof Olszewski. In May 1999, at the Poznań International Fair Motor Show, the company unveiled its low-floor city bus MAXI class Solaris Urbino 12. Two other models of the MEGA class premièred that same year – the Solaris Urbino 15 and the Solaris Urbino 18. 2000 saw the market launch of the smallest member of the bus family – Solaris Urbino 9. A bodyframe made completely of stainless steel and the asymmetric front windscreen are turning into typical features of all buses of the Urbino family. The new series of city buses was characterised by the modern design and innovative technical solutions (e.g. the asymmetric line of the front windscreen improves the driver's field of vision). The first generation buses were made chiefly for the Polish market. In March 2000 the company sold the first vehicle to a non-Polish company; the Solaris Urbino 15 went to DPO from the Czech city of Ostrava. The first-generation Solaris Urbino buses have also made it to Slovakia, Latvia, and Germany.
The second generation Urbinos premièred in 2002. The manufacturer introduced small modifications compared to the predecessors, so the second generation was a transition between the first and the third edition of the Urbino. What is more, the new Solaris Urbino 10 was introduced, replacing the Urbino 9. The year 2002 was also a historic moment for the company, as it marks the first time that export sales double and foreign orders exceed the volume of domestic commissions
2002 saw also the unveiling of the first Solaris intercity bus, dubbed Solaris Valetta for commercial purposes. The vehicle was designed for a regional operator, based in Valletta, Malta. It was the first Solaris bus adapted to left-hand traffic. 2004 saw also the début of the intercity low-entry bus model Solaris Urbino 12 LE.
In September 2004, the third generation of Solaris Urbino buses had its début; serial production of those models kicked off in spring 2005. Many style and construction modifications were undertaken. It is this model that enabled the company's global success internationally. Moreover, in 2004, the company presented also the Solaris Urbino 15 CNG model – the first Solaris bus running on compressed natural gas. The Solaris Urbino participated in a contest titled Bus of the Year 2005, where it came second, losing by a whisker to MAN Lion's City. In 2006, Solaris became the first European manufacturer to present a serially produced hybrid drive bus – the Solaris Urbino 18 hybrid. In 2011 the company also launched a hybrid model of 12 meters.
In 2006 the company launched production of a 15 cm shorter model, 8.6 m long, i.e. the model Solaris Alpino, designed specifically for narrow streets of city centres and also less frequented communication routes. In 2008, the company extended the production line by two low-entry models, the Solaris Alpino 8,9 LE and the Solaris Urbino 15 LE. Also low-floor CNG- or biogas-fuelled models, designed specifically for buyers in Scandinavian countries, were launched around that time.
In September 2011, Solaris presented the prototype of the fully electric MIDI class city bus: the Solaris Urbino 8,9 LE electric. The first buyer of that electric Solaris bus was an Austrian carrier from Klagenfurt. A year later, at the IAA trade fair in Hanover, the producer unveiled the 12-metre version of its electric bus, the Solaris Urbino 12 electric. The first such model was sold in 2013, to an operator in Braunschweig, Germany. That is also, where the first articulated electric buses - the Solaris Urbino 18 electric - went to. In 2014 the producer supplied its innovative city buses Solaris Urbino 18,75 electric to Hamburg; these vehicles were the first to use a hydrogen fuel cell as an additional power source.
In September 2014, during the IAA trade fair in Hanover (world première), and in October that year, at the Transexpo trade fair in Kielce (Polish premiere), Solaris presented the new generation of Solaris Urbino buses – initially only with conventional drives and in the length versions 12 and 18 metres. This time, the producer introduced more modifications to the design compared to the predecessor buses. The design was profoundly amended and many technical innovations were applied. Over the next years, Solaris showed off a range of new generation models (the firm started using that name instead of the fourth generation, to distinguish it from the older model), though it continued to concurrently manufacture vehicles of the third generation.
In 2016 Solaris announced that the new generation Solaris Urbino 12 electric would compete in the “Bus Euro Test 2016” for the title Bus and Coach of the Year 2017. In the contest, the Solaris bus faced off against three competitors – the buses also evaluated in the test were the Mercedes-Benz Citaro C2 NGT, the Van Hool Exqui.City 18, the Irizar i2e and the Ebusco 2.01. Solaris turned out the final winner – thus becoming the first Polish bus to secure this title and the first electric bus ever to win this distinction.
Solaris supplies complete buses, i.e. it does not use the chassis of other manufacturers. However, it does implement components made by other sub-suppliers. It installs diesel engines and CNG engines made by PACCAR/DAF, Cummins, whereas the transmissions are supplied by Voith or ZF Friedrichshafen. In the case of hybrid drives, Solaris vehicles use BAE Systems.
On 29 November 2016 Solaris became the leader of a technological cluster named “Polish Electric Bus - supply chain for electromobility”. The goal of the cluster is the design of electric buses, batteries and charging options. The cluster consists of: Akademia Górniczo-Hutnicza (University of Science and Technology), Politechnika Poznańska (Poznań University of Technology), Politechnika Warszawska (Warsaw University of Technology), EC Grupa, Ekoenergetyka Polska, Impact Clean Power Technology, Medcom, Instytut Napędów i Maszyn Elektrycznych KOMEL and SKB Drive. Later on companies El-Cab and ENEA joined the cluster.
In 2018 Solaris announced the debut of the three following vehicles: the Solaris Trollino 24, the Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen with a hydrogen drive and the Solaris Urbino 12 LE lite hybrid, meaning a low-entry and low-emission bus involving lower operating costs.
In the first years of operation, Neoplan Polska also handled the assembly of the coaches Neoplan Transliner and Neoplan Skyliner. Serial production of the tourist coach of the company's own design Solaris Vacanza 12 began one year after the official unveiling in August 2001. The design of these coaches was drafted by the Berlin-based enterprise IFS Designatelier. A characteristic feature of these vehicles is the wedge-shaped bodywork line. Engines made by DAF were used for the driveline. In 2004, the company launched production of the longer model Solaris Vacanza 13. In 2003 the Solaris Vacanza was ranked second (ex aequo with the Volvo 9700) in the contest Coach of the Year 2004, right behind such brands as MAN Lion's Star and Scania Irizar PB, which took the first place ex aequo. Due to limited sales, Solaris decided to eliminate them from its offer in 2011.
In 2002 Solaris assembled its first special purpose vehicle - a mobile blood donation station based on the Vacanza coach. Solaris bloodmobiles have been used in many Polish cities, but have also been sold to Riga. In 2018, Solaris presented the first fully electric special vehicle for blood donation, based on the Urbino 8.9 LE model.
The Solaris Trollino trolleybuses have been produced since 2001, based on low-floor buses of the Solaris Urbino series. The first Trollino 12 units were created in collaboration with PKT Gdynia. In 2002, the company launched serial production of longer trolleybuses, namely 15-metre and 18-metre versions. The Solaris Trollino 15 was the first trolleybus in the world of that length. Originally, the vehicles were made with drives manufactured by Hungarian company Ganz Transelektro and Czech firm Cegelec. In spring 2007, Solaris and the firm Medcom from Warsaw decided to build a prototype of the trolleybus Solaris Trollino 12, fitted with an asynchronous drive made in Poland. It was created in August 2007 and was then submitted for tests in Lublin. Two more vehicles were made for public operator MPK Lublin. Tychy-based TLT, too, is authorised to assemble and obtain the type approval for the Trollino model.
The Solaris Trollino trolleybuses are available in various length versions: 12, 15 and 18 meter models. In Poland, the Trollino can be encountered on the streets of Gdynia, Tychy and Lublin. They have also been delivered for the trolleybus network that is being rebuilt in Rome (the battery version which enables driving in the city centre while detached from the traction line) and for the existing networks in Riga, Vilnius, Tallinn, Landskrona, Opava and Ostrava. In 2009, the first trolleybus made it to Portugal. The Solaris Trollino is also available in a special version with a MetroStyle bodywork that has an affinity to the style of the Solaris Tramino tram. Trolleybuses of that type have been supplied to Salzburg, Esslingen and Castellón de la Plana.
In March 2006 Solaris Bus & Coach signed a contract with Bombardier Transportation and German firm Vossloh Kiepe on the assembly of trams in Poland. In 2006 these companies won a tender for the supply of 24 trams of the Bombardier NGT6/2 type for Cracow and 3 for Gdańsk. Under the cooperation agreement, Bombardier Transportation supplied the bodyworks and carriages, Vossloh Kiepe provided the electric fittings and Solaris ensured the delivery of the remaining components and the assembly of the vehicles, in collaboration with MPK Kraków. The assembly of the trams for Cracow took place in the tram depot Zajezdnia Podgórze. 2007 saw the delivery of three ordered vehicles to Gdańsk and of 8 vehicles for MPK Kraków.
Mid-2009 Solaris presented the prototype of its own tram, named Solaris Tramino. Its début took place on 14 October 2009 during the Trako trade fair in Gdańsk. Solaris scored its first commission for trams of its own design when it won a tender for the supply of 45 trams to the operator MPK in Poznań. The delivery of the vehicles started in July 2011 and ended in May 2012.
The second tender for Solaris concerned an order for 5 bi-articulated fully low-floor trams adapted to a 1000 mm track gauge, placed by Jenaer Nahverkehr – a public transport operator from the German city of Jena. The tram cars have been fitted with two driver cabins, three bogies, including four axles integrated with a 90 kW motor, and an air conditioning system for the passenger compartment. The trams were delivered in 2013. They were the first ones produced in Poland and sold to a customer in Germany. As part of the third tender in 2014, Solaris provided 18 tri-articulated trams riding on a 1100 mm track gauge to Braunschweig in Germany. These were the longest trams made by Solaris.
In August 2012 Solaris won a tender for the supply of 15 double-ended trams for the newly built tram network in Olsztyn. This vehicle features many state-of-the-art solutions, such as traction batteries allowing for a short-distance ride without a connection to the traction line. These are also the least noise-emitting trams in Poland. The 15 vehicles were supplied in 2015.
At the beginning of February 2015 Solaris won a commission for the supply of 41 trams to the Leipzig-based public transport operator Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe GmbH in Germany. The new trams for the Saxon buyer have been given a completely new design, in compliance with the customer's wishes. However, references to the former Tramino construction have been maintained. The longest vehicle of the family (37 630 mm) was named Tramino XL. The official première of the Tramino for Leipzig took place in February 2017, marking also the beginning of the delivery.
On 20 September 2016, at the Innotrans trade fair in Berlin, the company announced that it had started cooperation with Stadler Rail – a Swiss rolling stock producer. The consortium won a tender for the delivery of 50 trams for public transport operator MPK S.A. from Kraków.
On 9 December 2016, Solaris announced the establishment of the joint venture Solaris Tram. The company started operation on 1 January 2017, with Zbigniew Palenica assuming the post of CEO, whereas the shares are divided between Solaris and Stadler Rail at a 40:60. In July 2017 Solaris Tram secured its first order, for the supply, to Braunschweig, of seven trams featuring a similar design as the vehicles from the previous contract.
Company management and staff
|From||Until||Chairwoman of the Board||Chairman of the Supervisory Board|
|2008||2014||Solange Olszewska||Krzysztof Olszewski|
|2015||2016||Andreas Strecker||Janusz Reiter|
|2018||Javier Calleja||Josu Imaz|
Number of employees
In the first year of operation there were 36 employees working in the production hall. In the following years, as new production halls were launched and production expanded, the staff number kept growing. In 2005 Solaris reported a headcount of 1000. As of 2018 Solaris employs 2300 people in Poland and in foreign agencies.
Apart from its core business entailing the production and maintenance of public transport vehicles, Solaris Bus & Coach S.A. is also involved in many CSR activities. These measures are partly related to the improvement of road safety, and partly concern local communities and company employees and their families. In 2018, the company was awarded the Silver Leaf of CSR by weekly Polityka for its efforts regarding corporate social responsibility; the firm also received the Ace of Responsible Business prize.
Road safety – Programme “Safe Driver”
In order to improve safety for all road users, Solaris has devised a training programme dedicated to drivers of city buses and named it “Safe Driver”. During the training instructors teach what to do when something unexpected happens on the road. Over 1000 people have so far completed the driver training programme launched by Solaris in 2005.
Collaboration with schools and universities – Vocational School Training and Dual Study System
Solaris is one of the first firms in Poland which, as early as 2007, committed to the cause of vocational training in collaboration with schools in the province of Greater Poland. Encouraged by the positive effects of that programme, we have extended the dual education project establishing a co-operation with the Technical University of Poznań (Politechnika Poznańska). Not only does the project give young people a great professional head start, but it also supports local education and constitutes an investment in the local labour market.
Charity and philanthropy – “Green Dachshund Foundation”
In 2012 Solaris established the Green Dachshund Foundation - for the rescue of the defenceless”. Right from the start the foundation has been supporting the sick and needy, and its beneficiaries include employees of Solaris, inhabitants of the Greater Poland province as well as organisations providing emergency assistance. The foundation's agenda also includes aiding animals.
Parent-friendly firm - Nursery
In 2012, bearing in mind the needs of its employees and their children, the company created the in-house nursery “At the Green Dachshund”. The mission of the nursery is to create a unique space that ensures the safety and versatile development of the company employees’ children, and which, thanks to its location close to the company headquarters, allows parents to visit children even during breaks at work.
Solaris is one of 10 Poznań-based businesses that got involved in a Poland-wide innovative project titled “My Own Place”. Its objective is to turn the dwellings of senior citizens who live in public nursing homes, often resembling hospital rooms, into rooms that are cosy and give a home-like feeling. Apart from refurbishing the room of one elderly lady, our employees – all of whom had volunteered for the task – were also given the opportunity to spend one day with the senior, taking her on a river cruise along the Warta and on a stroll through Poznań.
Training and further education - Employee trainings
2 132 212.58 PLN – that is how much Solaris spent on trainings for employees and their professional development in 2017. Thanks to these funds our employees received among others licences to carry out works on gas installations and welding work, as well as category D driving licences, but they also attended technical trainings, language courses and even conferences and seminars. In 2017 we also implemented a training programme of our own design, titled “The Power of Knowledge” addressed to managers of all levels in our company - starting with foremen, team leaders, and ending with lower level to top level managers.
Consumer survey - Customer satisfaction survey
The Solaris customer satisfaction survey is carried out every two years. Its objective is to improve the company performance and to eliminate critical events in each of the four areas of customer care: purchases, transfer, vehicle usage and spare parts. The survey from last year covered 62 firms in Poland and indicated a high degree of customer satisfaction with Solaris, since the individual customer satisfaction index came to 77%.
Waste management - Recycling
We are aware of the environmental aspects that accompany our business activity, which is why we are involved in many campaigns aimed at reducing the negative impact on the environment and preventing pollution. In 2017, 75% of waste produced in the course of our production process was recycled, whereas the remaining 25% was processed into alternative fuel. Hence, none of the waste generated by Solaris ended up on a landfill.
Initially, Neoplan Polska did not use its logo – it relied on the symbol of holding company Neoplan. The first logotype of Solaris was presented in 2001, when Solaris Bus & Coach Sp. z o.o. was officially established. It featured a stylised inscription reading Solaris, enclosed in an ellipse. Moreover, for buses the company used a complex logo on a black background, where the letter O was replaced by a planet, whereas the letter A was set against a star in the backdrop. It reflected the association of the word Solaris to the sun. In 2005 a new graphic system for Solaris was shown. The company introduced the characteristic logotype resembling the letter S. It is to symbolise the producer's modernity, sustainability and flexibility. In 2012 the company launched an overhauled version of the symbol making it bolder and changing the interior filling of the letter S. What is more, the stylised name Solaris, in line with the design from 2001, is placed underneath the graphic symbol.
In 2005 Solaris introduced its first advertising slogan: “Power of Enthusiasm”. It was in use until 2017, when the company replaced it with the slogan “Wspólny kierunek” (Polish for Common direction).
The green dachshund is the mascot of the company Solaris. It used to be attached to Neoplan Polska buses, distinguishing them from vehicles produced in other Neoplan factories. It was created by the company's vice-president of the day, Solange Olszewska. The dachshund resembles a low-floor bus in shape, but it also symbolises the loyalty towards customers and low operating costs. The green colour is a symbol of concern for the natural environment. Its image is glued to the outside of the bus, usually on the front face, on the left side of the vehicle (when looking in the travel direction). A plush toy version of the symbol is often handed out during official release of buses to customers. In the case of the first and second generation and for some third-generation vehicles, the logo included the word “low-floor” written in the language of the country in question (e.g. “Niederflur” for Germany or “niskopodłogowy” for Poland). In the case of low-entry buses, the inscription was changed accordingly to “low-entry”. Standard buses of the Urbino family (with diesel or natgas engines) feature a dachshund logo in the basic form, whereas other drive or construction types have their distinguishing feature represented in the image of the dachshund, as shown in the table below:
|Vehicle model and version||Operating differences reflected in the vehicle symbol|
|Solaris Urbino electric||The graphic symbol includes a cable and plug-in replacing the tail, which symbolises the electric drive.|
|Urbino hybrid||The graphic symbol contains two hearts which represent the double drive system of the vehicle.|
|Urbino Low Entry||The dachshund stands with its front paw raised. In the older version the dachshund's front paws are seen lying flat, whereas the hind leg was seen standing, which results in the belly rising in the rear, just like the floor is raised in the rear of the vehicle.|
|Urbino in Cracow||The dachshund wears a peaked cap, typical for the region and known in Polish as a krakuska, on its head. It appears only on some of the buses delivered to the city.|
|Trollino||The dachshund has a leash resembling trolley poles tied to its collar.|
|Tramino||The graphic symbol includes a leash and yellow inline skates.|
|InterUrbino||The graphic symbol carries a backpack.|
Production and sales
|Year||Buses, coaches and trolleybuses||Trams|
|Sales||Export||Export (%)||Solaris Tramino||Bombardier NGT6/2|
|Σ||15 875||10 363||65%||89||17|
Solaris buses have found buyers in over 700 cities in 32 countries in Europe, Africa and Asia (as of: 01.07.2018). The furthest Solaris buses have ventured from Bolechowo so far is the island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean. Solaris has been leader of sales in Poland of new city buses with a DMC of more than 8 t since 2003 without interruption. The number of buses, trolleybuses and trams sold by Solaris was biggest for Poland (5528), Germany (2960), the Czech Republic (860), Italy (829), Sweden (616), France (523) and Norway (478).
The production of Solaris vehicles is handled in four production facilities situated in the vicinity of Poznań and in the city itself. The headquarters is located in Bolechowo-Osiedle. That is also where the final stage of production takes place. Furthermore, Solaris operates two plants in Środa Wielkopolska and one in Poznań. According to company plans, within the framework of the joint-venture of Solaris and Stadler Rail, as of 2019 the final assembly of Solaris Tramino trams is to be executed in the Stadler Polska plants located in Siedlce. In 2017 Solaris launched yet another plant – the Solaris Logistics Center – located in Jasin near Poznań. The new distribution centre and spare part warehouse was to streamline the order implementation process and raising the level of after-sales customer care.
The factory in Bolechowo-Osiedle is the biggest production facility of Solaris. That is where the final stage of bus production takes place. Opened in 1996, is the oldest factory of Solaris, created for the execution of an order for buses for MPK Poznań. In 2014 the company started expanding the factory, adding additional production and office space. The following extension of that facility began in 2018. Annual output amounts to 1300–1400 vehicles, meaning that every day 5 to 8 new buses roll off the assembly line in Bolechowo. The average production time for one city bus is approx. 20 working days. Offices are located next to the production hall, constituting the headquarters of Solaris Bus & Coach. Since 2016, it is possible to sneak a peek at the interior of the factory and the office building in Bolechowo using Google Street View.
The facility in Środa Wielkopolska specialises in the production of steel bodyframes for buses and rolling stock. Solaris bought the factory in 1998, following the bankruptcy of the former owner, TRAMAD. The facility in Środa Wielkopolska employs about 360 people. About 8 bodyframes are completed here every day. In 2018, the company started the concurrent extension of the steel structure plant in Środa Wielkopolska and the plant in Bolechowo.
The second production hall in Środa Wielkopolska was launched in 2009, to serve the needs of orders for Solaris Tramino trams for the public transport operator MPK Poznań. Specialising in tram bodyframes, this particular facility caters only for the production of Tramino trams.
The factory in Poznań at Wieruszewska street is a facility focusing on the production of rolling stock, where the final assembly of Solaris Tramino trams takes place. Just like the plant in Środa Wielkopolska, this facility was built to handle orders placed by MPK Poznań. Earlier prototype models of trams were manufactured in production halls of external firms.
At the beginning of 2008 the municipal bus operator from Athens, E..THE.L, issued an invitation to tender for 320 city buses – namely 220 MIDI-class and 100 MAXI-class vehicles. Solaris’ bid was singled out from among others and so, in July 2008, the company signed a contract for the supply of 100 Urbino 18 and 220 Alpino 8,6 buses. The contract value exceeded EUR 80 million. The deliveries were completed by the end of 2009.
At the beginning of 2016, Solaris won a contract for the delivery of 300 suburban buses for the operator Cotral from the Italian region of Lazio. This contract was worth nearly EUR 110 million. Under this contract, Solaris supplied 12-metre buses of the Solaris InterUrbino category. The buses were provided with, among others, baggage holds, air-conditioning and rear-view reversing cameras. The drive consists of a diesel engine made by DAF.
In 2004 Solaris secured an order of Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe for the supply of 260 city buses of the MEGA class (130 + 130 under a contractual option). Following this contract, there are now 260 low-floor Solaris Urbino 18 buses of the third generation driving on the streets of Berlin. They joined 10 older Urbino 18 buses of the previous generation, already in use in the city.
Towards the end of 2006 the Dubai Roads & Transport Authority (the municipal transport operator in Dubai) put out a tender for the supply of a total of 620 city buses, although the order was divided into several batches. One of these batches, covering 225 vehicles, was won by Solaris. The contract entailed the delivery of 150 articulated Urbino 18 buses and 75 Urbino 12 buses of the third generation. The deliveries of buses were spread in time, from the end of 2007 and over the first half of 2008. One novelty applied in the buses for the Dubai RTA was a more efficient air-conditioning system and systems protecting the engine from sand storms. Special curtains of cool air have been applied in the buses, too, to prevent heat from entering the bus through open doors.
Société Régionale Wallonne du Transport (regional carrier of the Belgian region of Wallonia) ordered 208 hybrid buses of Solaris in 2017. Under the EUR 105 million commission the producer supplied Solaris Urbino 12 Hybrid buses of the 4 generation. The deliveries were spread over a period of two years – 97 buses were supplied in 2017 and another 111 were shipped over in 2018.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Solaris Bus & Coach.|
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- Solaris Bus & Coach S.A., Kolejny przystanek Tramino: Brunszwik, „Magazyn klientów Solaris”, 1/2010 (4)
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