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Solaris Leads the European Zero-Emission Bus Market as It Sold 54 Hydrogen Buses in 2021

By March 29, 2022 13   min read  (2238 words)

March 29, 2022 |

Fuel Cells Works, Solaris Leads the European Zero-Emission Bus Market as It Sold 54 Hydrogen Buses in 2021
  • Solaris sold a total of 1,492 vehicles in 2021 [i] • Its revenues hit €721 million • The company ranked first in the zero-emission bus market in 2021 in Europe with a 15.1% market share [ii] • From 2012 to 2021 Solaris was the leading manufacturer of zero-emission buses in the European market with a market share of 15.5% [iii]

In 2021, just as in 2020, most of the world’s economies faced great challenges. The past few months have also been difficult for the European public transport sector and companies that manufacture vehicles. The Covid-19 pandemic and related restrictions prompted Solaris to establish special procedures and to develop solutions to ensure the continuity of its business activities. However, the company has proved that, even in the toughest of times, it keeps the promises it makes to its clients and business partners. The whole organisation and its employees have put a great deal of effort into continuing its activities, and implementing protective measures has thus yielded tangible results.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, which has had a significant impact on many sectors of the economy, including the automotive industry, Solaris reported solid sales and financial results in 2021. In this period, the company generated impressive revenues of €721 million.

Solaris revenue 2021

Sales performance in 2021

Solaris strengthened its leading position in the zero-emission bus market in Europe. It delivered a total of 400 zero-emission buses to its clients [iv], which means that in the period from 2012 to the end of 2021 Solaris was Europe’s largest supplier of zero-emission buses with a cumulative share in this segment that amounted to 15.5%.

Solaris Sales 2021

All in all, the company sold 1,492 units in 2021 [v]; of these, low- and zero-emission vehicles (i.e. electric, hydrogen, and hybrid buses as well as trolleybuses) accounted for a 41% share of total sales.

Fuel Cells Works, Solaris Leads the European Zero-Emission Bus Market as It Sold 54 Hydrogen Buses in 2021

In 2021, Solaris delivered its products to customers from 18 countries. Major recipients of Solaris vehicles included, among other carriers, operators from Poland, Germany, Spain, Estonia, Italy, Romania, the Czech Republic, Israel and Switzerland. For the 19th year in a row, Solaris claimed the leading position in the low-floor city bus market in Poland with a share of 63.7 %.

Also worthy of note is the fact that Solaris sold a whopping 54 hydrogen buses in 2021, to the Italian, German, Dutch and Swedish markets. The Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen bus was launched in 2019. Since then, interest in this technology has soared, a fact which is reflected in the number of orders for this type of vehicle in 2021 and in units commissioned for 2022 and later.

Major contracts

The largest Solaris contracts in 2021, partially or already completely executed, include:

  • A contract for the delivery of a total of 123 e-buses to Romania, which allowed Solaris to solidify its position as an e-mobility leader in this market. In a government tender launched by the Romanian Ministry for Public Works, Development, and Administration (Ministerul Lucrărilor Publice, Dezvoltării Și Administrației), with seven local towns and cities as beneficiaries, Solaris was awarded a huge order for 123 out of 131 e-buses. In 2021, Solaris delivered its e-buses to the towns and cities of Iași, Sibiu, Sighetu Marmației, Suceava, Târgu Mureș and Pitești. According to the schedule, the contract will be completed by the end of 2022.
  • A tender for the delivery of a total of 250 Solaris Urbino 12 buses, fuelled with compressed natural gas (CNG), for operator EMT in Madrid. Deliveries began in 2021 and are due to be completed in 2023. This is the first contract won by Solaris in the Spanish capital. Empresa Municipal de Transporte (EMT) Madrid is the largest public transport operator in Spain and the second biggest in Europe. The operator has set itself an ambitious goal of having solely electric, hybrid and CNG buses plying the streets of Madrid by 2023. The plan envisages replacing all their diesel vehicles with CNG buses. That is why, at the beginning of the year, EMT launched a tender for an impressive 520 12-metre CNG-fuelled vehicles. As many as 250 of them will be supplied by Solaris.
  • An order for the delivery of 24 electric buses for operator TMB Barcelona. Solaris Urbino electric units will make their way to the capital of Catalonia by the end of 2022. It was in 2015 that Solaris vehicles first joined the fleet of the operator Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB). All of the Solaris vehicles that the carrier has ever ordered boast hybrid or electric drives.
  • A contract for 100 environmentally friendly CNG-powered city buses that was signed with Estonian carrier Aktsiaselts Tallinna Linnatransport (TLT) from Tallinn. Estonia was one of Solaris’s major sales markets in 2021, mainly due to the execution of deliveries and also tenders launched by operator TLT, which Solaris won. The capital city of Estonia is one of the leading smart cities worldwide, i. e. cities that apply ICT technologies to enhance the interactivity and efficiency of urban infrastructure. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the largest public transport operator in Estonia, i. e. Aktsiaselts Tallinna Linnatransport, has again decided to sign a huge contract with Solaris for CNG-powered vehicles. 75 of them are Solaris Urbino 12 vehicles, while the remaining 25 are articulated Solaris Urbino 18 units. The deliveries are scheduled to end in 2022. Already, in 2022, TLT has exercised an option included in the contract to buy a further 50 gas buses. 200 vehicles of this type, ordered by TLT in 2019-2020, are already operating on the streets of Tallinn. After the completion of all deliveries, the number of Solaris gas buses will reach 350 units.
  • A significant order for 161 hybrid (diesel-electric) Urbino 12 buses from Opérateur de Transport de Wallonie (OTW), a public transport operator from the French-speaking part of Belgium. The deliveries to Namur, Liège and Charleroi are scheduled for 2022.
  • A deal with transport operator Dopravní Podnik in Ostrava (DPO) for the supply of 24 Urbino 12 electric buses along with the charging infrastructure. It is worth mentioning that this was Solaris’s first order for e-buses in the Czech Republic, one of its key markets. So far, the manufacturer has delivered only diesel, CNG and trolleybuses there. The deliveries are scheduled to end in 2022.

Hydrogen technology

Hydrogen technology has played a substantial role in the company’s development and sales strategy. At the beginning of 2021, Solaris joined the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance. This is an initiative led by the European Commission. Its aim is to scale-up, by 2030, the production and deployment of hydrogen as a fuel produced by means of low-emission technologies and renewable energy sources. The European Clean Hydrogen Alliance is one of the many measures taken by the European Union to bolster its position as a world leader in the production and deployment of hydrogen in industry and the energy grid. It is also one of a host of actions intended to support the EU’s goal to reach carbon neutrality by 2050.

For Solaris, hydrogen technology is not only a harbinger of future development, but it has already translated into tangible orders and generated revenues. In 2021 alone, the bus maker delivered 54 zero-emission hydrogen buses to clients from Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. In the same year, the company signed yet more contracts for hydrogen buses, including, among other destinations, for the German market. 12 Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen units will be handed over to carrier In-der-City-Bus, responsible for public transport in Frankfurt.

Trolleybus market leader

Apart from its leading position in Europe when it comes to electric, hybrid, CNG and hydrogen buses, Solaris is also the largest European supplier of trolleybuses. In 2021, the company sold 119 Solaris Trollino 12 and 18 trolleybuses in total, and they made their way to operators in Germany, France, the Czech Republic, Romania, Poland and Hungary.

Towards sustainability

Just as they are for the whole CAF Group, sustainable development and ESG issues are also for Solaris an extremely important component of its development strategy. In 2021 Solaris published its first Sustainability Report. It was drawn up in accordance with the GRI Standards guidelines, which are an international standard for reporting on both responsible business and sustainable development issues.

The report is the first publication to present the full range of data and information on the company’s ESG-related initiatives in such a comprehensive manner. It is an extensive description of the company’s impact on the economy, environment, and society. Its three main chapters correspond to the pillars of the company’s activities: “Responsibility along the value chain”, “People – the greatest value”, and a “Zero-emission future”. The topics addressed in the document were selected during internal workshops as well as suggested by stakeholders.

The document was awarded a prize for the best debut at the Sustainability Reports competition. As emphasised by the jury, the prize was awarded “for a report that contains a lot of well-prepared information, with a clear layout, a concrete set of ESG actions and an interesting description of the company’s role in the ‘zero-emission’ future”.

The report is available on the company’s website at:

https://www.solarisbus.com/public/assets/content/firma/csr/Solaris_Sustainability_Report_2020.pdf. It is available in Polish, English and German. For the sake of the environment, the company has decided to only publish the report online. A corresponding report for 2021 will be published in the third quarter of this year.

Industry events

In 2021, for the second year in a row, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Solaris Bus & Coach sp. z o.o. was forced to operate under unusual conditions when it came to its trade fair and exhibition activities. Restrictions, lockdowns and the shutting down of entire sectors in various countries led to the vast majority of events, in which the company had planned to participate, being cancelled or postponed.

In 2021, Solaris took part in the Transexpo trade fair in Kielce on 27-29 October, where it displayed three of its zero-emission models: the electrically powered Urbino 9 LE electric, the Urbino 15 LE electric, and the Urbino 12 hydrogen buses. The hydrogen-fuelled Solaris bus won the “best product” medal at the Targi Kielce Fair in the Bus category, while the battery-powered Urbino 9 LE bus, launched a month earlier, was awarded a distinction by the jury.

What is more, Solaris took part in the Local Public Transport Days in Tampere in Finland, on 23-24 November, where the manufacturer showcased its Urbino 15 LE electric bus. At the same time (on 23-25 November 2021), the bus maker participated in the Czechbus trade fair in Prague (the Czech Republic), demonstrating its latest e-mobility achievements, i. e. the Urbino 12 hydrogen and the Urbino 9 electric buses.

In 2021, Solaris also continued its #SolarisTalks, i. e. industry meetings focusing on swapping experiences and discussing the future of urban mobility. Due to pandemic-related restrictions, this year’s conference was organised in an online setting. The changed format opened up a wealth of new possibilities. A virtual stage, on which various presentations were given, could be followed from any place in the world. The participants included our clients, business partners, local authorities and fans of Solaris from all across Europe. The conference programme was divided into two sessions: on electric and hydrogen issues. The #SolarisTalks online conference was attended by almost 700 participants from 38 countries. This widespread interest and geographical diversity show just how important and current the e-mobility topic is. All the materials and videos from the conference are available at:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQaJOZ44gRiEbfzLfoB76xw

Product news

Not being able to take part in conventional trade fairs or other promotional events, the manufacturer decided to introduce its latest product to hit the market online. The Internet launch of the Solaris Urbino 9 LE electric bus took place on 30 September 2021. Thus, Solaris managed to keep its word when it came to the date of the presentation of its new product to the public and it enabled all interested stakeholders to take part in the event, while respecting all sanitary precautions.

By launching another bus that meets the requirements for both vehicle classes I and II, the manufacturer continued to expand its offering of e-vehicles that can successfully be deployed both as city and intercity buses. Full coverage of the launch is available at: https://www.solarisbus.com/pl/premiera. The event has been viewed over 60,000 times on various online channels.

In 2021, in addition to the launch of its new midi class e-bus, Solaris continued its work on the development and introduction of an 18-meter e-bus, which will use a new generation hydrogen fuel cell for propulsion. Moreover, apart from the new cell, the bus will be equipped with cutting-edge advances and dedicated solutions related to the use of hydrogen as a fuel. In 2021, work started on the construction of two prototypes, which are scheduled to be completed in the second quarter of 2022. As a result, Solaris in 2022 will offer hydrogen buses in the most common lengths in urban transport, i.e. 12 and 18 metres (articulated).

Furthermore, in 2021, the development of a 24-meter double-articulated electric bus continued. This project is being implemented in particular due to a successful tender for the delivery of 14 units of this model to Aalborg, Denmark.

As for the future, the company has a healthy order book. At the end of 2021 it contained 1260 vehicles.

  • [i] 1,492 units includes consolidated sales of Solaris + 6 units of Vectia.
  • [ii] Based on battery/electric and hydrogen bus registrations in 2021 in Europe without the United Kingdom and Ireland, source: Chatrou/CME Solutions.
  • [iii] Based on battery/electric and hydrogen bus registrations in 2012-2021 in Europe without the United Kingdom and Ireland, source: Chatrou/CME Solutions.
  • [iv] 400 buses is the number of battery/electric and hydrogen buses sold/invoiced in 2021 by Solaris + Vectia. The market share statistics covers registered buses. For Solaris in 2021 this amounted to 427 units.
  • [v] Consolidated result.
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