In a phased deployment, 35 electric buses commenced regular service in Latvia's capital, Riga, starting December 2023. The introduction followed a series of test drives conducted in wintry conditions and comprehensive technical evaluations.
While the electric buses have been in operation since the end of the year for testing purposes, the impact of cold temperatures on the battery, particularly due to heating usage, is under scrutiny, as reported by local media.
The contract between Rigas Satiksme and Solaris, awarded at the close of 2022, outlined the supply of up to 52 e-buses to Riga. The initial binding order covered 35 units of the Urbino 12 Electric buses, each equipped with two 140 kWh batteries. At the time of the order, Solaris indicated that the buses were charged through a plug-in connection and a reverse pantograph.
Capable of accommodating a minimum of 72 passengers, the e-buses feature amenities such as a built-in alcohol immobilizer for assessing the driver's sobriety before starting the engine. The enclosed driver's cab is equipped with seat heating for added comfort.
The total cost for the acquisition of the electric buses, as reported by the city of Riga, amounts to 19.18 million euros. Substantial support is provided by the European Union's Cohesion Fund, contributing approximately 16 million euros to subsidize the initiative. The gradual integration of electric buses into Riga's public transportation system aligns with broader sustainability goals and reflects the city's commitment to reducing environmental impact.