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Erlangen: Solaris midi electric buses and free-of-charge public transport

Free, quiet, emission-free, and every 15 minutes in each direction – these are the parameters of a new service within the city of Erlangen, with its approximately 118,000 inhabitants located in Northern Bavaria (Franconia), some 25 kilometres away from Nuremberg. Seven battery-electric Urbino 9 LE electric midibuses supplied by the Polish manufacturer Solaris Bus & Coach are now operating on the new “CityLinie” 299, starting from the large car park at the central bus station on a circular route through and around the old town centre. Since 10 December 2023, the buses have been running every 7 ½ minutes on Mondays and Saturdays until 8 p.m. and on Sundays and public holidays until 4 p.m., always alternating on an opposite course on the circular route. Rides are free of charge. In addition, bus transport in the entire city centre of Erlangen will be free for all users from 1 January 2024. As part of a pilot project initially limited to three years, the aim is to relieve the inner city area of car traffic.

© Stadtwerke Erlangen
© Budach

Solaris supplied its 9-metre-long Urbino 9 LE electric model, which offers 21+2 seats (total passenger capacity: 50) and has a range of an estimated 170 km with its 220 kW motors and a battery capacity of 350 kWh. They are getting recharged by plug via two fast charging stations at the bus station with 150 kW charging capacity and at the depot via seven charging points, each with 60 kW. A fixed time for recharging at the bus station is provided for each bus in the daily cycle, which can be adjusted as required.

Fast charging station at Busbahnhof terminus | © Budach
Plug-in fast charging at Busbahnhof | © Budach
Depot charging overnight | © Budach

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (BMWK) funded approximately EUR 1.8 million of the total costs of some EUR 3 million for the vehicles and EUR 725,000 for the charging infrastructure (excluding civil engineering measures). The electrification of Stadtwerke Erlangen’s bus network has only just begun, however, and hydrogen buses with fuel cell drives are foreseen to join the fleet.

Ideal for narrow city streets: Solaris’ Urbino 9 LE | © Budach
Busbahnhof | © Budach
© Budach