Rochdale-based Mellor is extending its bus product range with the introduction of its new Orion Evolution – a 5.5-tonne, 27-passenger bus offering high-specification low-cost appeal to a wide range of service-bus and coach operators.

Based on Mellor’s proven and popular Orion product, the new uprated 5.5-tonne Orion Evolution boasts a host of features designed to deliver significant benefits to bus operators, including a powerful 180bhp engine, proven ZF 9-speed automatic transmission and an attractive 10-year structural warranty; all packaged around an extremely competitive basic price of under £90,000.

The introduction of the Orion Evolution follows Mellor’s strategy of developing ‘size appropriate’ vehicles with the operational flexibility to make unviable routes viable again, while providing operators with an alternative to larger, uneconomical vehicles.

The new model launch is particularly pertinent at a time when the UK bus industry is experiencing a shifting patronage profile while the impact of COVID-19 restrictions remains ongoing.

In addition to an impressively economical Euro-6 diesel engine – capable of delivering up to 20mpg – Mellor is also offering the Orion Evolution with an all-electric drivetrain for operators looking to deliver a zero-emissions operation.

“The Orion Evolution makes for a compelling business case against larger, unproductive buses”

John Randerson, Divisional Managing Director, Mellor

Mellor continues to embrace electric mobility solutions at its production facility in Rochdale as it develops a ‘future-proofed’ product range.

Based on a proven low-floor chassis and powerful driveline, the Mellor Orion Evolution adds the benefit of a fully automatic ZF gearbox alongside lightweight yet exceptionally robust characteristics.

The vehicle is engineered to meet the demands of both urban and rural route types, while possessing an exacting specification to boost on-road productivity.

The Orion Evolution also offers operational benefits to deliver further savings, including low-cost repair and maintenance by utilising widely available OEM replacement parts.

The same benefits can also be found on the zero-emission electric version of the Orion Evolution, with increased passenger carrying capacity and broader operational flexibility to help those operators in the UK and Europe working in clean air or reduced emission zones.

Mellor is confident its Orion Evolution boasts all the credentials to deliver tangible productivity benefits for UK operators.

Divisional Managing Director John Randerson says, “The new Orion Evolution really does tick all the boxes. A powerful 180bhp engine which delivers class-leading economy through ZF’s outstanding 9-speed auto-box, a robust 5.5-tonne chassis that can carry 27-passengers, BSOG rebate, 10-year structural warranty – all for under £90,000.

“The Orion Evolution makes for a compelling business case against larger, unproductive buses.

“This vehicle plugs a niche but significant gap in the market,” he says, “a gap we believe will 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.”