New Optares for Stagecoach

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The Stagecoach order for a further 32 Solo SRs and one Versa from Optare as part of its 2013 fleet replacement programme reveals a new driveline option for the Solo. All the Solo SRs are the familiar 9.0m SlimLine model with a narrow width of just 2350mm but the new driveline has been engineered to meet the specific requirements of Stagecoach and creates a version to directly compare and compete with the Wrightbus StreetLite. The new drivetrain option comprises the four-cylinder Cummins ISBe engine delivering 118 kW (160 bhp) matched to a four-speed Voith D 824.5 DIWA 4 automatic transmission with integral retarder.

Optare Commercial Director Chris Wise said: “We’re delighted to once again feature in the Stagecoach annual fleet replacement programme. This repeat order results from the good reliability, fuel efficiency and both driver and passenger acceptance of this and its predecessor model in a variety of demanding operating conditions.

“The Cummins-Voith driveline is new to Optare and is being fitted at the specific request of Stagecoach. It further demonstrates our ability to meet a wide range of specific customer requirements in terms of vehicle drivelines, whether it’s alternative fuels, hybrid, full electric or conventional diesel.”

Since the inception of the Solo it has always offered a Cummins engine option but it has been the six-cylinder B-Series. Optare recently announced its MetroCity, designed specifically for the London market, was to be equipped with the smaller four cylinder Cummins. As such, a great deal of the preliminary installation and testing has already been accomplished. An example of the new combination is currently under construction and expected to enter an evaluation and homologation period in the near future.

Chris Wise added: “While the new development is an exciting change it is the result of us responding to a customer request. We remain firmly committed to the Mercedes-Benz engine as the standard installation for Solo SRs and it is highly likely we will investigate the possibilities for combining it with the Voith transmission as a further option.”

Deliveries under the multimillion pound order will commence in June.