Mellor’s Orion evolves
Mellor develops Orion Evolution model as a cost-effective and size-appropriate offering
Mellor is launching its new Orion Evolution. The Rochdale-based manufacturer describes the vehicle as a ‘size-appropriate’ and ‘cost appropriate’ alternative to what it calls larger, more costly, under-utilised vehicles in the service-bus and specialist transport markets.
The new 5.5-tonne, 21+6 passenger bus is designed to provide high-specification/low-cost appeal to what Mellor views as a growing number of operators who find themselves under increasing capital and revenue pressure, particularly while UK bus patronage remains low during current Covid-19 restrictions. According to the manufacturer, the Orion Evolution offers a new way for operators to boost productivity and to reinstate previously non-profitable routes.
The Orion Evolution’s size-appropriate specification offers a 27-passenger capacity on a small yet robust 5.5-tonne chassis and drivetrain, fitted with a 180bhp engine driven through a ZF nine-speed automated transmission. With a proven, no-nonsense chassis as its platform, Mellor has uprated the Orion Evolution to combine rugged on-road reliability with a lightweight, durable body construction, which it claims is ideal for satisfying the flexible demands of both urban and rural routes.
Like the Mellor Orion, the Orion Evolution is based on the Fiat Ducato.
The Orion Evolution has an initial purchase price of under £90,000 and it comes with a ten-year structural warranty, fuel economy of 20mpg and what Mellor describe as inexpensive service and maintenance costs.
As Mellor continues to embrace electric mobility solutions across its product range, the new Orion Evolution is offered with an optional electric drivetrain.
Mellor’s Managing Director, John Randerson, said: “The Orion Evolution makes for a compelling business case against larger, unproductive buses.
“We’re very confident that the Orion Evolution’s lower running costs and operational flexibility will provide operators with the an excellent prospect of returning to profitability. It’s about fully utilising the vehicle, making the asset work across a range of operational disciplines. The Orion Evolution is a small bus with the very real earning potential of a full-size bus.
“Currently, the Orion Evolution fills a niche gap in the market, a gap we believe will only grow as operators realise the benefits which this size-appropriate vehicle can bring; large enough to cater for the peak demands in town, yet small enough to offer a viable proposition off-peak and especially on rural routes.”