As with the 12m version, the main energy source in the new 18-metre model is hydrogen, and responds to growing market demand for larger zero-emission buses.

The bus will be able to cover about 350 km on a single refill in various weather conditions.

Solaris’s new vehicle, powered by fuel cells, doesn’t feature a conventional engine compartment as it has been equipped with a modular drive system. The space saved allowed the bus maker to increase the vehicle’s passenger capacity and provided more rooftop space, where composite light hydrogen tanks with a total capacity of 51.2kg are mounted.

The use of a modular drive also facilitates servicing as its main components are now accessible from floor level.

The electricity from the hydrogen fuel cell is transferred directly to the driveline. Solaris batteries with a capacity of around 60 kWh, mounted in the vehicle serve as an auxiliary power source, used, for example, during acceleration as well as a storage for recovered energy. Full refuelling of the vehicle takes around 20 minutes.

The latest model can be type-approved as a class II vehicle, which makes it possible to deploy it on inter-city routes.

The first deliveries will be from the second quarter of 2023, and vehicles can be customised to four door arrangements (2-2-2-0, 1-2-2-0, 1-2-2-2 and 2-2-2-2).

As standard, the new model will feature an air-conditioning system for the passenger compartment with a heat pump, which uses heat drawn in from outside to create the right vehicle temperature.

The air conditioning in the driver’s cabin is powered by the passenger compartment unit. Customers may choose from a variety of solutions, for example, they may opt for ADAS, i. e. advanced drivers assistance systems such as MirrorEye or MobilEye Shield+.

The short version was launched in 2019. Since then, nearly 100 hydrogen buses have already been delivered to customers in Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Poland. New deliveries to clients in Spain, France, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, amongst other countries, will start soon.