Innovative Solaris trolleybuses in Gdynia

New trolleybuses, being a hybrid of a trolleybus and an electric bus, have recently arrived in PKT Gdynia.

Recently two exceptional trolleybuses have arrived in the city of Gdynia, north of Poland. These are two innovative Solaris Trollino 12 equipped with alternative power supply made of Lithium-Ion batteries. On 24th April there was an official event launching these vehicles into the city’s transport system attended by the local authorities, citizens and the representatives of SOLARIS. The novelty is that state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries installed in these trolleybuses for the first time allow this vehicle to run autonomously without the traction network for ca. 15 km. The batteries are charged directly from the traction network during the trolleybus regular operation or the energy may be also charged in any spot from a three-phase socket.

So far the inhabitants and visitors to Gdynia and Sopot on the Baltic Sea coast have been used to the sight of trolleybuses permanently linked to the overhead lines with their pantographs with the exception of short emergency rides. Since 1st May the newly purchased trolleys, to a huge but positive astonishment of Gdynians, have been operating an extended unwired section of the line 21 in the central area of the city. The trolleys get off the traction network, go on batteries for 2 km to a popular Gdynia Aquarium and get back to the traction network again.

This undertaking by PKT is co-financed and implemented within a CIVITAS DYN@MO project (DYNamic citizens @ctive for sustainable MObility), 7th Framework Programme, which involves 28 partners from 4 European cities of Aachen (Germany), Koprivnica (Croatia), Palma de Mallorca (Spain) and Gdynia (Poland), which are dynamically developing in the field of clean and sustainable public transport. The experience gained with Li-Ion trolleybuses will also be of valuable use for the ELIPTIC project (Electrification of public transport in cities), H2020, launched on 1st June in Brussels, which PKT is also a partner.

One of the aims of ELIPTIC is to explore the opportunities that existing electric transport infrastructure offers for further transport electrification without traction expansion. The usage of battery technology in the trolleybus system of Gdynia undoubtedly is a breakthrough moment and a huge step in rethinking the direction for its further development taking it more into a partly unwired trolley-ebus hybrid. 

PKT (Przedsiębiorstwo Komunikacji Trolejbusowej) realizes passenger trolleybus transport on 12 day lines in Gdynia and Sopot. It covers 5 million vkm a year. It maintains 43 km of traction network. At the moment its fleet consists of 91 trolleybuses. Since 2005 the company has been very active in EU co-funded projects and in 2014 it received a prestigious European Commission Regiostars Award in the category Citystar – Investment Projects in Sustainable Urban Public Transport. PKT and Solaris are UITP members.