Mellor launches next-generation Orion E minibus

New motor and increased energy storage will deliver a 100-mile range with 16 passengers, says firm

Mellor launched the next-generation of its Orion E zero-emission battery-electric minibus at the CV Show last week, and it has taken an order for five from Glasgow Community Transport for delivery later this year.

At the heart of the changes to the Orion E is a new 96kW motor. That, says Managing Director John Randerson, contributes to improvements in both performance and overall efficiency.

92kW/h of energy – up from 72kW/h in the first-generation Orion E – is stored in two ‘strings’ of batteries. The minibus is capable of starting on a 25% gradient with a full load of 16 passengers and a 100-mile range is possible.

Mr Randerson adds that despite the increase in stored energy and changes to the motor, the net result has been a slight reduction in unladen weight. “That is key. It allows more seats, a greater range, or more operational flexibility.”

Mellor is talking to one of the bus groups about the Orion E, and it hopes that the government will increase its support for zero-emission minibuses to act as a catalyst for their wider market entry.

Mellor expects to deliver the first 27-passenger Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-based Strata Plus this month. Additionally, the 30-passenger Strata Ultra completed durability tests last week and orders have been taken beyond that placed by Stringers Coaches of Pontefract.

“We have delivered almost 200 Stratas and we are seeing lots of repeat business. Operators recognise that, after the driver, the most costly element of running buses is fuel. 20mpg is achievable in the Strata.”