The Orion E23 is based on the Fiat Ducato Series 8
Rochdale-based Mellor has introduced two new buses to its product range, both of which offer electric drives and zero emission operation.
The new vehicles are the low-floor Orion E23 and Maxima E23. Both have passenger capacities of 23, and the manufacturer was keen to point out that this falls within scope of the £120m Zero-Emission Buses Regional Area (ZEBRA) fund announced alongside the Bus Back Better strategy.
Both vehicles are based on existing Mellor products. They join the company’s Orion E16 and range of electric van conversions.
The Orion E23 is powered has a 92kWh battery capacity, offering a range of 200km (124 miles). It has a gross vehicle weight (GVW) of 5,500kg and is DDA-compliant and low-floor. Mellor stated it is designed as a ‘cost-appropriate solution for urban scheduled bus services.’
Meanwhile, the Maxima E23, based on the Iveco 72C 18HA8, has a lower 80kWh battery capacity and 160km (100 mile) range, with a 7,200kg GVW. Also DDA-compliant, the vehicle is equipped with a passenger lift and targets the school bus market, offering a zero emission alternative to Mellor’s existing vehicles. Seating capacity is seven lower than a standard Maxima, due to the additional weight of the batteries.
Both the Orion E23 and Maxima E23 are available to order, with initial deliveries expected to commence this summer.
Mellor told Buses it will offer a five year battery warranty, but expects life ‘well beyond that.’ A 22Kw onboard charger will recharge each vehicle in around 3.5 hours.
Alongside the new launches, Mellor has highlighted ‘growing support’ for its recent ‘Big Bus Bias’ campaign, the company’s response to what it describes as Department for Transport (DfT) ‘short-sighted and restrictive ZEBRA funding,’ which excludes vehicles with a capacity of less than 23.
Supporting organisations include Bus Users UK, the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England and the Community Transport Association, along with Shadow Transport Minister Sam Tarry, who supported the campaign by raising the issue in the House of Commons.
“The market has driven our investment into developing our electric product range,” said bus division managing director at Woodall Nicholson, Mark Clissett. “Operators in particular have told us that they want Mellor electric buses in which to invest government funding.
“With significant investment, innovative engineering and a dedicated, highly-skilled team of designers, engineers and technicians, we can offer a zero-emissions solution on an already proven vehicle platform.”