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February 26 2018
By Tim Deakin

Tim is Editor of routeone and has worked in both the coach and bus and haulage industries.

Versatile, high-capacity MCV Evora is unveiled

MCV and Volvo are targeting a variety of applications with the B8RLE-based Evora, which is a cost-effective and high-capacity bus that from a cosmetic aspect shares some items with the EvoSeti ‘decker

The Evora is a development of the Evolution, but with hints of the EvoSeti

Bringing an identifiable family look to its increasingly popular bus range was a significant objective when MCV developed the new 12.2m Evora single-deck body, mounted on the Volvo B8RLE chassis.

The Evora is a development of the Evolution, which on the B8RLE has thus far accounted for a respectable proportion of heavyweight Euro 6 single-deck deliveries.

It brings an appearance that has more in common with the EvoSeti double-decker, a model that is seeing significant sales success on Volvo’s B5 chassis range. That’s intentional. It reduces the parts portfolio required to support both models.

Key to the Evora’s appeal is its capacity. It offers a maximum of 46 seats, with three-point belts if required.

Other layouts include airport specification, dual buggy and wheelchair bays, and one that contains wrap-round ‘social seating’. It is also available at 10.8m.

Prime contractor Volvo will hold Evoras in stock. For a vehicle of its layout and people moving ability - up to 95 passengers can be carried thanks to a theoretical standing capacity of 52 - prompt delivery is a further USP, says National Account Manager – Coach Richard Mann.

The Evora is also cost-effective. Retail price starts at £165,000, and for that, the buyer gets a bus that is suited to a wide variety of applications.

The changes

The most obvious changes with the Evora are at the front. Here it shares much with the EvoSeti, including the windscreen, while the body and chassis electrical cabinet has been moved from the lower nearside to the bulkhead behind the driver. The rear is also restyled.

Inside, the lighting arrangement is changed to give two individual sets, each with dual LED strips. One of those pairs, pointing at the ceiling, can be specified in a variety of colours; the other emits white light that focuses downwards.

The cab is also improved. Although the Volvo dash remains the same, some controls are relocated to above the driver and surfaces now have a shiny finish to aid cleaning.

Alterations have been made to the window hopper arrangement. Just two are fitted on each side of the current tranche of buses, and they are small. However, they are now completely separate to the main pane, which cuts replacement costs.

Stock Evoras will have 46 belted Vogel seats and wood-effect flooring

That initial batch of Evoras is 15-strong. Three have been sold to an Irish operator, while six will soon be delivered to Hatfield-based Uno. The other six are as yet unspoken for.

Evora evaluated

One of the stock buses was shown last week by Volvo. It is largely to the same specification as the other speculatively-built examples that will follow except for its colour, and it gives a good idea of what buyers can expect on a standard Evora. It weighs 10,800kg unladen.

Inside it has wood-effect flooring, wireless bell-pushes and 46 Vogel seats, all with three-point belts except for the three tip-ups. Seats from other suppliers are available, but Vogel is the only option if belts are required. The bus also has two optional prominent glazed roof hatches.

The rear saloon area is raised and it is reached via a number of steps, but glazing throughout is extensive and much natural light is admitted. MCV has stuck with a simple heating system and four coolant-fed radiators are situated around the saloon perimeter.

On the road

A short drive showed the Evora to be smooth and quiet, as one would expect of a Volvo-based bus. The D8K engine is rated at 280bhp and coupled to a ZF EcoLife automatic gearbox, so performance is more than adequate.

In particular, the Evora is more competent at higher speeds than some lightweight competitors, and that is key to the appeal that both MCV and Volvo expect it to have, says Mr Mann.

“With seatbelts, the Evora is a dual-purpose bus; it can be used on shorter-distance private hires and school work, but it is equally suited to urban use, particularly park-and-ride for example, where capacity is an important consideration.”

Although the first six Evoras sold in the UK are to fleet buyer Uno, Volvo expects the model to be particularly attractive to retail purchasers and coach operators that require a niche vehicle.

Volvo’s retail sales team looks after coach and bus enquiries alike, and so operators have one point of contact for all of their needs. It expects to keep a stock holding of Evoras that are available rapidly; custom-built buses are also offered, and they come with around a six-month lead time.

routeone comment

One UK manufacturer has already recognised that, when specified correctly, there exists a small but consistent demand among coach operators for double-decker buses that can be used on a variety of work, including shorter-distance private hires.

MCV and Volvo are now targeting that area of the market with a single-decker, and they hope to develop that niche.

The Evora is indeed a versatile vehicle. 46 belted seats is a clear attraction, while the ability also to use it on registered service work when required ticks a further box. Where outright capacity is needed, the theoretical maximum capacity of 95 is another plus.

Volvo’s move towards a single point of contact for retail buyers for both coach and bus will increase the Evora’s appeal in that sector. Existing relationships can be leveraged further and that will be welcomed on both sides.

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