SOLARIS URBINO BUSES
A new brand is born
In 1999 marks the world premiere of the SOLARIS
URBINO, the first low-floor bus ever to be built in Poland. The
vehicle was designed and manufactured using our extensive
experience, market research as well as feedback from users and
operators on their expectations regarding city buses. The design and
engineering of the Solaris Urbino were also influenced by extensive
benchmarking among competitors.
To launch the new Urbino bus family on the market
we were looking for a suitable brand name. The new name was to
correspond to and summarize the design brief of the new bus family,
and to be associated with advanced engineering, high quality,
attractive design, prestige, as well as to carry a certain aura of
mystery. In the event, out of more than 100 proposals, we have
chosen the name SOLARIS – the word which is associated with the
sun, warmth, as well as joy of life. Last but not least, the new
name contained a hint to the first name of Mrs SOLANGE Olszewska,
and as such was seen as a fitting tribute to her.
The first-generation Solaris Urbino was a modern
construction of the “heavy-duty” type – perfectly suited to
operate on overcrowded urban passenger services and to take the
punishment of running on less than perfect road surfaces in its
stride. All construction and engineering parameters have been
extensively tested during trials on the Tatra test track in the
Czech Republic. Results of the tests have been highly commended by
Competitive advantage has also been gained
through the employment of computer aided design techniques, while
the modular concept of the bodywork allowed us to expand the range
and to introduce modifications to tailor the product to individual
Shortly after the premiere of the first 12-metre
model, new versions with 10m, 15m, and 18m (articulated bus) lengths
were added to the Solaris Urbino bus family.
The new buses were extremely well received by
industry experts and operators alike. This enabled Solaris Bus &
Coach to consolidate the leader’s position on the low-floor city
bus market in Poland.
The first buses from Solaris Urbino family were
exported to the Czech Republic (Ostrava) and Slovakia (Kosice) in
2000. Shortly afterwards two units were delivered to ABUS, an
operator working for Berlin’s BVG city transportation company,
making them the first two Solaris buses ever to be exported to a
customers in the then European Union.
The experience gained in the process of building
and operating the first generation of SOLARIS URBINO buses enabled
us to commence the development work on a new generation of city bus
in 2001. The SOLARIS URBINO II, with new design’ was even better
engineered and had superior technical parameters. It was officially
unveiled to the public at the IAA commercial vehicle show in
Hannover in the autumn 2002.
Design and styling
The unique and styling of the Solaris Urbino
family of buses has been evolved by the IFS DESIGNATELIER GmbH
design office in Germany as well as at the FischundVogel Design. The
unique shape of vehicle body is determined by a characteristic
combination of lines and curves. The hallmark of the Solaris Urbino
design is the dropped edge of windshield on the right, which fulfils
both an aesthetic and functional role. It offers the driver a much
better view of the nearside. It also helps to spot persons waiting
at a bus stop which improves safety.
For increased comfort and better information of
the passengers, Solaris Urbino buses have been equipped with modern
passenger information system comprising three external electronic
destination boards placed in the upper part of the bus front, in the
upper part of the side and on the rear wall of the vehicle. There is
also an extra destination board inside the vehicle.
Another characteristic feature of the Solaris
Urbino styling is the construction corner of the bodywork as well as
steep angle of the body in the segment over the side windows line,
which forms an additional rain gutter preventing rain water from
flowing down the side walls and windows. This structure also
increases stiffness of the bus side walls.
Innovative external styling cues are carried
through to the equally innovative interior, where ergonomic and
functional forms are matched by attractive colour schemes and
ever-present feeling of safety and comfort.
The “high-tech nature” of the interior is
especially visible in the area around the engine compartment. The
“engine tower” is finished with elements of plastic and features
characteristic depressions echoing the six-cylinder engine layout. A
nice styling cue of the engine cover is a built-in rev counter.
The buses of Urbino family are designed to
provide the passengers with ultimate comfort and safety, even on the
shortest of routes. The ease of ingress and egress is assured by low
floor, while high travel comfort is provided thanks to Wabco ECAS
electronically-controlled air suspension.
The main strengths of the Solaris Urbino is the
spacious of the passenger compartment, light and airy interior,
smooth and quiet ride, low floor without any steps in the centre
aisle and efficient ventilation system ensuring optimum air
On customers request, Solaris Urbino buses may be equipped with
high-grade audio and video systems to customer’s specification.
Cameras and video screens are available as an option, helping to
increase the sense of passenger and driver security.
The passenger compartment
One of the chief objectives during the
development of the Solaris Urbino range was the maximum convenience
and safety for both the driver and passengers. Solaris Urbino boasts
unusually wide centre aisle, not seen in other buses, achieved
thanks to maximum 625mm width between rear wheel arches. This amount
of space allows passengers to move freely up and down the bus
interior without encountering any major obstacles.
Solaris Urbino is the bus full of light. Seeking
to increase passenger comfort even further, the Solaris Urbino
employs an advanced lighting system which optimises the intensity
and dispersion of light throughout the interior. Made of special
milk-white and semi-transparent plastic, the panels of the roof
channel make it possible to incorporate sources of light inside the
channel. This concept leads to a more passenger-friendly lighting,
superior to conventional fluorescent lights. Another important
feature which brightens up the interior is the vertical engine
cover, whose shape and reduced size facilitate daylight penetration.
Ventilation and air-conditioning
Roof-mounted vents and electrically operated roof
hatches ensure very good air circulation. The hatches operated from
the driver’s seat, also double up as emergency exits. Solaris
Urbino buses are also available with air-conditioning for the
driver’s compartment alone, for the passenger area or for the
entire bus interior.
Smooth floor, without steps, facilitates easy moving up and down
the aisles and accessing seats. The entire floor area is covered
with tough anti-slippery coating. The floor level is 360mm, with the
lowering facility by further 80mm, to achieve the 280mm height above
the ground. The “kneeling” mechanism facilitates boarding and
egress for elderly persons and mothers with children. A
manually-placed ramp at the second entrance allows easy access to
wheelchairs and pushchairs.
To make Solaris Urbino even more passenger-friendly, all edges
around the floor area are rounded to reduce the risk of tripping on
sharp edges. The railing systems used in the Solaris Urbino have
been optimised to facilitate use also by disabled persons.
Emphasis on convenience and functionality
Design solutions employed in the Solaris Urbino ensure maximum
operating convenience for the driver and service fitters during
inspection and maintenance.
The driver’s compartment has been designed as an ergonomic and
comfortable place of work. The advanced controls and information
displays are available either in the form of the system designed
in-house by Solaris or a VDO system.
The Solaris Urbino has been engineered to minute details with the
customer’s and operator’s convenience in mind. The electrical
wiring looms which are housed inside purpose-designed cages, easy
access to air tanks housed under the bus roof or easy to use
inspection flaps (opened by a handle on the lower edge), are just a
few examples of how Solaris engineers make life easier for
operators. Solaris Urbino drivers and technicians have an advantage
over competitive models when it comes to easy and uncluttered access
to daily servicing items. Practical swivelling mountings for the
front headlights are another convenient feature of the Solaris
Our designers have not even overlooked the need to incorporate
folding side mirrors, with the nearside mirror being folded onto the
windscreen and the offside mirror onto the side of the bus. Thanks
to this simple feature, the vehicle can enter a bus wash without the
need to take off the mirrors.
The Solaris Urbino body frame is a welded
structure, made from 1.4003 grade stainless steel (according to the
EN 10088 standard). The special frame architecture makes Solaris
Urbino one of the lightest vehicles in its class. Large-section
profiles employed in the construction of the body frame increase the
body rigidity and resistance to vibrations. They also help to reduce
Side panels of the Solaris Urbino are made from 1.4003 grade
stainless sheets (according to the EN 10088 standard), with lower
sections made of aluminium. Front and rear sections of the bus have
been made from glass-reinforced plastic (GRP). For the engine covers
multi-layer sound-proofing system has been employed which
effectively reduces interior noise levels. The headlining is made
from the HPL material which is 100 per cent proof to moisture and
An important feature of all Solaris Urbino models
is their modular design. This allows bus fleets operating the Urbino
buses of various lengths and other Solaris models to use the same
spare parts, effectively reducing their parts inventory, and to use
the same diagnostic tools for the entire fleet.
The engine, transmission and rear axle ratio for
the Solaris Urbino have been carefully selected to ensure optimum
performance, highest possible passenger comfort as well as low fuel
consumption with low operating costs for the operator. In order to
achieve the lowest possible floor level, the engine has been
positioned vertically in the left-hand corner of the rear section of
All Solaris Urbino are powered by advanced diesel
engines supplied by DAF, MAN or IVECO. The choice of power unit
depend on the customer’s choice. The engine is coupled to a ZF or
Voith automatic transmission. The Solaris Urbino feature rigid
axles, with independent suspension available for the front axle.
Solaris Urbino features ZF Servocom 8098 power steering, with the
RBL power steering available as an option. Small turning circle with
just 18.08m (for Urbino 10), 21.4m (U12), 25m (U15) and 23.2m (U18)
ensure excellent manoeuvrability, additionally enhanced thanks to
carefully designed steering geometry and front axle control rods.
The Solaris Urbino electrical system has been based around the
CAN-Bus system which significantly reduces the number of wiring
looms used on the vehicle. The whole concept is based on connecting
a large number of electrical equipment with a single network. This
has an additional benefit of freeing up a lot of space inside the
vehicle which was previously taken up by countless electrical cables
and looms. CAN-Bus system also ensures longer life and highest
reliability of the entire electrical system, with the added benefit
of greatly simplified maintenance, servicing and diagnostics.
The main electrical box with automatic fuses and relays is
mounted inside the bus, near the driver’s seat, which makes it
well protected against dust, humidity and other harsh climate
conditions. State-of-the-art technology has enabled us to increase
reliability and to reduce the dimensions of the electrical box.
The major part of wiring looms as well as
pneumatic lines and heating ducts have been accommodated under the
roof of the Solaris Urbino. Wiring looms are secured in special
gutters which protects them against rubbing against sharp edges of
the body frame and against dust and knocks. The system additionally
facilitates servicing and cuts the time needed for repairs.
Solaris Urbino is equipped with very efficient
advanced, dual-circuit pneumatic braking system supplied by Knorr or
Wabco. Disc brakes are fitted all round, with the added
effectiveness of the EBS system.
All engines used to power the Solaris Urbino range meet the
rigorous Euro3 emission standards. Their environment-friendliness is
best measured by the degree of reduction of the
environment-polluting substances. Particulate emissions have been
cut to just 0.1g/ kWh, while CO emissions are down to 0.8g/ kWh,
with NOx emissions reduced to 4.8 g/ kWh. Customer can
additionally specify CRT particulate filter which help to cut
emissions even further.
One of the basic requirements accompanying the development of the
Solaris Urbino range was constant monitoring of the functioning of
every unit, every component, and every single part. Solaris Urbino
underwent extended testing programmes, carried out both as computer
simulations and in during arduous test drives on various test
Among tests carried out on DAF, Wabco and Tatra
test tracks, the Solaris Urbino was subjected to driving tests on
various surfaces, including “Belgian cobbles” at speeds of up 50
km/h, stretches of undulating surface and banked roads, sections
with the angle of approach of 18 degrees, stability and
manoeuvrability testing, plus special strength and stress testing.
During these tests Solaris Urbino negotiated thousands of bends and
carried out thousands of sharp braking cycles – an equivalent of
covering 1.000.000 kilometres in normal operation, or, in other
words, an equivalent of 10 years’ operation in normal road