Solaris has for many years now maintained its leading position when it comes to delivering low- and zero-emission urban transport solutions to towns and cities throughout Europe. Keen to be in the vanguard of manufacturers having a real impact on the green shift in public transport, the company is continually investing in further development. Among many other initiatives that have been implemented in recent months, two deserve special attention: 10,000 m2 of the new warehouse space, equipped with cutting-edge logistics systems and solutions, and the Charging Park, a unique charging station for e-vehicles.
These two latest investments by Solaris were launched at an official opening ceremony on Thursday, 29 September, in the presence of invited representatives from local authorities and media. Both the Warehouse Hall and the Charging Park have been built directly on the premises of the factory in Bolechowo, near Poznań, where the company’s headquarters are located.
“As one of the biggest employers in the region, we are particularly committed to continually improving and optimising solutions in our factory. Our aim is to effectively boost the company’s potential and to respond accurately to the market’s fast-changing needs. Therefore, we are constantly investing in developing our products technologically and in improving our production process, as well as in creating new technologies that contribute to enhancing the quality of our work and boosting the competitiveness of our company”, said Dariusz Michalak, PhD. Eng., vice-CEO of Solaris Bus & Coach for R&D, Quality Assurance and Procurement.
Warehouse Hall: a key role in the supply chain
The new Warehouse Hall has a surface area of 10,000 m2. It has been built in the immediate vicinity of the Solaris factory, with which it is connected by roads and utilities. The new warehouse plays a key role in the supply chain of parts and components needed for the manufacturing of Solaris buses and trolleybuses. The Hall is equipped with a modern multi-level warehouse platform with an automated conveyor belt. Almost 25% of the total space of the Warehouse has been dedicated to office and social space. Advanced systems for smoke detection have been installed throughout the facility, and the equipment used in the new Warehouse has been fitted with special acoustic panels to dampen the noise generated by daily operations.
The new warehouse facility has a reinforced roof, with 572 photovoltaic cells with a total capacity of 260 kWp installed on it. In addition, 80 kWp charging stations have been erected on the site.
There are also plans to retrofit, among other buildings, the Delivery Hall and the new Service Workshop with photovoltaic panels, as well as to install photovoltaic cells on the parking shelters.
Charging Park: a central site for charging e-buses
The Charging Park is an innovative, multi-bay charging station for battery-powered vehicles: e-buses, hydrogen buses and trolleybuses. This investment in our own Charging Park – a single central site for charging e-buses – marks a natural step in the dynamic development of Solaris’s zero-emission range. The Charging Park has been developed to demonstrate novel charging solutions for Solaris buses to our clients. In addition, it offers one more unique feature: it enables us to test new technologies and functionalities as regards the charging and discharging of e-vehicles we have manufactured. The Charging Park consists of eight charging bays, pantograph mechanisms, plug-in charging stations, a section of the trolleybus network, an interactive kiosk with an LCD screen and a technical room.
This is the first charging park supporting the Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) functionality in Poland, i. e. a bidirectional energy flow between vehicles and the grid. This technology makes it possible to flexibly charge and discharge buses. It allows us to discharge buses for test purposes and to use them as mobile energy storage facilities, which leads to more effective cost management.
Covering an area of 5,000 m2 the Charging Park boasts cutting-edge charging systems produced by three suppliers: Medcom, Ekoenergetyka and ABB.
The first charging system consists of two independent plug-in chargers with a power output of 150 kW, each featuring V2G. This innovative solution has been implemented and delivered with full bi-directional capability (charging and discharging of bus batteries) for the first time ever in the Polish market and is one of the first of its kind in the European market. The second system deployed in the Charging Park is an innovative charger with eight charging points (with a power output ranging from 150 kW to 600 kW) that can charge three vehicles at the same time. This charging station is fitted with current collectors compatible with all pantograph types used by Solaris (a roof-mounted pantograph, an inverted pantograph, and a Ride&Charge system). In addition, the charger boasts three solutions for cable charging. The first one is a liquid-cooled plug-in HPC connector that enables the vehicle to be recharged with an output of up to 300 kW. With the two other charging connectors, buses can be charged with an output of up to 150 kW. The last charging system in the Park is based on a charger with four charging points with a total power output of 360 kW, which enables the concurrent charging of two buses each with up to 150 kW, or it will enable the charging of one bus with a power output of up to 360 kW in the near future (only via pantographs). It supports two plug-in outlets, a roof-mounted pantograph and an inverted one.
As with the Warehouse Hall, the Charging Park features photovoltaic panels, which will increase the share of renewable energy to satisfy the daily energy demands of the entire factory.