French public transport company Régie autonome des transports Parisiens (RATP) has placed the first of its orders with Solaris Bus & Coach S.A. for Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) -powered buses. RATP selected the Solaris Urbino as part of its drive for cleaner operations in France’s capital city.Earlier this year, Solaris Bus & Coach S.A. delivered the first pre-series Solaris Urbino 18 CNG to RATP, marking the beginning of the contract signed in March 2016 between the Polish producer and the public transport operator. The total budget of the framework agreement amounted to EUR 20 million (USD 22.6 million) and included the delivery of up to 48 vehicles. RATP has just ordered the first part covering 18 buses.
The modern and ecological Solaris Urbino 18 CNG will arrive in the French capital mid 2019. The value of this part of the contract, constituting the first tranche of the contract, is nearly EUR 8 million. Among other things, thanks to the implementation of this contract, the total number of vehicles powered with compressed natural gas in the RATP fleet is to amount to 20%.
The articulated Solaris buses will be driven by engines dedicated to work with CNG fuel and automatic gearboxes equipped with the Eco program. This configuration of the propulsion unit will allow to obtain significant ecological benefits by significantly reducing the emission of harmful exhaust gases into the atmosphere. The engine compartment and the so-called engine tower will be additionally damped to increase the comfort of passengers traveling by bus but also to reduce the noise emitted by the vehicle to the outside.
Five compressed natural gas storage cylinders with a capacity of 340 liters each will be placed on the roof at the front of the vehicle. Such an amount of accumulated fuel, assuming a reserve guaranteeing the minimum level of gas concentration, allows to drive about 400 km on one fueling. For safety reasons, the filling circuit will be equipped with a pressure gauge to control the pressure in the tanks and the CNG drive system itself will meet the most stringent safety standards.
The experience of Solaris Bus & Coach S.A. in the construction of gas-powered vehicles dates back to 2004. Since then, the company had delivered nearly 1,100 vehicles of this type, which can be met on the streets of 13 European countries, from Sweden through Central and Eastern Europe to France, Spain and Italy.
The bus will accommodate 101 people, including 36 seated. For people with reduced mobility, there will be a kneeling function of the vehicle at the bus stop and an electronic ramp to facilitate the entry of a wheelchair or a stroller.