Cheshire West and Cheshire Council has taken delivery of a battery-electric Mellor Orion E minibus. It is the first zero-emission bus for the local authority and joins an existing fleet of 28 predominantly Mellor vehicles.
The new fleet member will be used on home-to-school services for children with complex needs and it will also be occupied on the transport of elderly residents to local day centres.
Up to 15 passengers can be carried Phoenix Sirius detachable seats, with a capacity of a maximum of five wheelchair users if those are removed. Access to the fully low-floor Orion E is via a sliding side door and double rear doors with folding ramps, while the minibus has interior heating from a Webasto unit.
Says Cheshire West and Chester Council Principal Fleet Operations Officer Lisa Rimmer: “We have been working hard to put the infrastructure in place to allow us to introduce fully electric buses to our fleet. Our services suit electric bus use and the addition of our first battery-electric supports the council’s wider carbon reduction plan.
“The longstanding relationship we have with Mellor has allowed us to see how successful the Orion E has been for other operators. A week-long demonstration of the bus confirmed its suitability within our fleet.”
Feedback from drivers, passengers and other stakeholders will be considered in the local authority’s decision whether to purchase further Orion E minibuses.
Mellor says the Orion E delivers a 160km range. In addition to the standard-length variant, in 2021 it introduced the 23-passenger Orion E23.