With a range of 100 miles, the Orion E accommodates 16 seated passengers or up to four wheelchairs and, says Mellor, an electric front-wheel-drive system enables a single-step entry, fully low-floor passenger saloon.
The vehicle uses conventional lithium-ion batteries, and has a drive system developed in conjunction with a leading European electric vehicle integrator.
Orion E is visually identical to its conventional predecessor, the Orion, but the chassis cab has an electric drive and gearbox in the engine bay. The low-floor, coach-built body accommodates its battery packs, which are distributed in several locations to achieve the optimum weight distribution.
“The project has taken us two years to complete,” says John Randerson, Mellor’s managing director. “We looked at a number of different electromotive suppliers and products, with the aim of ensuring we could have absolute confidence in the product and drive train.”
The vehicle has been through prolonged simulated test cycles, achieving compliance with all European regulations, and is now being developed as a left-hand drive vehicle for mainland European and other markets.
The first Orion E minibuses are expected to be delivered to customers in July.