New vehicle variety at the NEC

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The full design of the new EnviroEV models was shown for the first time at the show, whilst an example of the new chassis was also on the stand for inspection, showing the location of the batteries and Voith Electrical Drive System ADL

It has been a long wait, but finally new and repowered metal returned to the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham. Euro Bus Expo showcased the very latest new vehicles, some known about, and others that were revealed for the first time. CBW reviews the vehicles on display first in this two part special; part two will look at suppliers, software and services

Alexander Dennis

In typical Alexander Dennis (ADL) style, it had saved up many surprises for the big NEC show. After sharing many artists impressions of different parts of its new generation Enviro range using its own battery technology, many thought that they would be able to see and experience the new Enviro EV models in the flesh. Unfortunately, this was not to be the case, however ADL was able to share an exclusive preview of its next generation of battery-electric buses and provided more detailed information on their design, specification and capabilities.

Enviro EV range

Alexander Dennis has developed its new zero-emission technology platform as the basis for a new generation of battery-electric and hydrogen-fuel cell buses, but will continue to offer electric buses through the BYD ADL partnership, giving a range of options to meet operators’ requirements. Fully designed and built by Alexander Dennis and backed up with its AD24 whole-vehicle aftermarket support, the first of the new battery-electric models will be the Enviro400EV double-decker and a new midibus, the Enviro100EV. Initial orders have been taken, ADL reports, and the first vehicles are expected in 2023.

Along with a next-generation electric driveline and the new, ‘future-proof’ Alexander Dennis battery system, ADL highlighted that the new buses introduce a striking new design language that it says enhances their kerb appeal and makes a bold statement of investment in cleaner transport.

The Enviro400EV is what ADL calls the ‘crowd-shifter,’ a battery-electric double-deck bus designed to move large numbers of people on busy urban corridors and interurban expresses. With a total capacity of up to 96 passengers and a claimed operational range of up to 260 miles on a single charge, it features an improved lower deck seating layout and a wide range of specification options to tailor the vehicle to local needs.


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The Enviro100EV is what ADL terms the ‘big small bus,’ a midibus that is 8.5m long and 2.35m wide but engineered, says the manufacturer, with the same care and attention to durability and detail as a bigger vehicle. Configured from the ground up to meet the needs of UK operators, it will have up to 25 seats and accommodate a total of up to 45 passengers, making it at home in town streets as much as in country lanes, where a claimed range of up to 285 miles on a single charge will let it tackle longer routes.

The Enviro400EV, Enviro100EV and international models such as the Enviro500EV for Hong Kong share key technologies including a next-generation electric driveline. The Voith Electrical Drive System (VEDS) has been developed specifically for buses with an efficient permanent magnet traction motor that delivers torque and power in a compact footprint, freeing up vehicle space for passengers and maximising ride quality with a low unsprung mass. The Enviro400EV uses the heavy-duty variant (VEDS HD), giving the double-decker a 410kW peak power output as well as a high maximum speed, and competent static and dynamic gradeability performance, while the Enviro100EV uses a medium-duty version (VEDS MD) designed for smaller vehicles.

The new battery system is assembled by Impact Clean Power Technology to an Alexander Dennis proprietary design that standardises packaging and interfaces to the vehicle. Dual sourcing is possible at pack, module and cell levels, protecting customers and the vehicle design from adverse impacts of rapid development in battery technology, ensuring continuity of supply throughout vehicle life and allowing operators to benefit from technology advancements at a mid-life refresh without the need for vehicle modifications.

Particular attention has been paid to battery system reliability, ADL says. Underfloor battery packs are mechanically isolated rather than directly bolted to the chassis, protecting them against external loads from twists and impacts that could cause premature failure, and feature a stainless-steel container and aluminium cooling plate to limit the risk of perforation or damage from road debris and road infrastructure. String-level redundancy ensures that the bus remains able to drive home in case of a single fault, reducing the likelihood of breakdowns.

In its initial application in the Enviro400EV and Enviro100EV, the ADL battery system will use heavy-duty, high-density prismatic nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cells that are less susceptible to cold weather performance degradation and have a more gradual state-of-health decline. The Enviro400EV double decker will have 472kWh batteries as standard, with a 354kWh option available to trade range for passenger capacity. On the Enviro100EV, battery oprions are 236kWh or 354kWh.

The new electric buses have been developed with enhanced active and passive safety. Driver visibility is improved with wrap-around glass and minimal A-pillar intrusion, while the more strongly raked windscreen reduces internal reflections. Vulnerable road users also benefit from an acoustic vehicle alerting system. An electronic parking brake and safety interlocks reduce the risk of accidental roll-away. The vehicle has been designed to maximise internal flat floor space and to remove trip hazards to offer enhanced accessibility, with room for two wheelchair spaces as well as improved headroom at the rear of the lower deck.

Alexander Dennis President & Managing Director Paul Davies explained: “Alexander Dennis is taking the next step in leading the ZEvolution with our next generation of zero-emission buses fully designed and built in-house, while continuing our very successful partnership with BYD which has been leading the market for the last six years and will continue to offer excellent products that meet further operational needs.

“Passenger appeal, performance, efficiency and total cost of ownership are all key principles that have featured in every decision and at every stage during the development of our new battery-electric buses, with no gambles taken or corners cut. The crowd-shifting Enviro400EV and the Enviro100EV, which introduces a big bus feel to the small bus market, are both designed specifically and unequivocally for the specific requirements of bus operation in the UK and Ireland, giving bus operators, transport authorities and cities the best bus for the zero-emission age.”

The Enviro400FCEV was the centre of much attention throughout the three days, with many favourable comments about the interior design. RICHARD SHARMAN


Much buzz was created on the ADL stand by the public debut of one of the first Enviro400FCEV hydrogen-fuel cell double-deckers bound for launch customer Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. The Enviro400FCEV was announced last year, and the first of 20

vehicles has now been completed, with deliveries to Liverpool City Region expected to begin in the coming weeks. The new vehicles will operate service 10A between St Helens and Liverpool city centre, as part of a programme of investment designed to decarbonise and improve bus services in the region. Owned by the City Region and branded in a style consistent with its latest trains, they will be jointly operated by bus operators Arriva and Stagecoach.

The 11.1m long Enviro400FCEV can carry up to 88 passengers, up to 73 of them seated and with up to two wheelchair users. Similar to the upcoming new Alexander Dennis battery-electric buses mentioned above, the Enviro400FCEV utilises the Voith Electrical Drive System electric driveline with peak power output of the heavy-duty unit capped at 350kW on the Enviro400FCEV to maximise fuel economy while still enabling a high maximum speed and high levels of static and dynamic gradeability.

The Enviro400FCEV can be fuelled through fillers on both sides of the vehicle. Up to 29.4kg of hydrogen is stored in 350bar NPROXX composite tanks mounted at the rear of the vehicle, and is converted to electric energy in a Ballard FCmove-HD fuel cell power module rated at 45kW or 60kW depending on operational application, to optimise efficiency, reduce heat rejection and extend fuel cell life. A 30kWh battery from Impact Clean Power Technology provides on-board buffer storage between the fuel cell module and motor. Using lithium-titanate (LTO) chemistry, it is more suited to frequent rapid charge and discharge, and is expected to last the life of the bus. The Enviro400FCEV promises an operational range of up to 300 miles on a single fill, making it suitable for high-mileage applications such as busy urban corridors and interurban routes.

Paul added: “The launch of the Enviro400FCEV signals the start of a new age for zero-emission buses with our next-generation technology platform. Using the expertise from earlier prototypes as well as our wider experience as the long-established market leader for greener buses, this is a mature product for an industry that needs customised solutions from a reliable partner.

“Sitting alongside our new battery-electric buses and the hugely successful products we will continue to build in partnership with BYD, the Enviro400FCEV adds a hydrogen-fuel cell bus to what is now the industry’s widest portfolio of zero-emission solutions, ready to meet the requirements of any bus operator, transport authority or city.”

Also on show on the ADL stand was a BYD ADL Enviro200EV in Transport for Ireland livery to be operated by Bus Éireann. A BYD ADL Enviro400EV demonstrator was also on display outside the hall, whilst Plaxton was represented by a new Leopard-bodied Volvo B8R for Weardale Motor Services to full PSVAR specification.


The Premium is available on Scania or MAN chassis and has been designed as an executive coach, but with the ability to be a 70-seater in later life. RICHARD SHARMAN

The suppliers of new Beulas-bodied MAN and Scania and MAN-based MOBIpeople products had a busy show thanks to a selection of coaches that address some of the challenges the industry faces with vehicle capacity and ensure that a vehicle has a second life after coming off front line service, as Nick Dodgson, General Manager at BASE, explained: “The MOBIpeople Premium displayed on our stand is a revision to the existing 3.6m model. At 3.5m high it has allowed us to remove 10cm from the luggage area and have a flat floor with 57 seats, fitted out to full PSVAR specification. In a second life it can be turned into a 70-seater in a 3 plus 2 combination, which we have demonstrated on the show model, so that operators can see how it would look in both configurations. The vehicle on the stand is in the livery of KB Coaches, and it is the 17th new vehicle we have delivered to them.

“The mainstay of our MOBIpeople range is the popular Explorer, with either a MAN or Scania chassis. The new example for Meadway on the stand is the company’s 9th Explorer to date and features 74 seats in 3×2 configuration and is fully PSVAR-compliant. We always say the proof is in the pudding. Anyone can sell a vehicle once on price, but when customers keep coming back you know its a good product. In addition, it is getting impossible to find good second hand double-deckers for school work, so many operators are turning to this option.

“Another option for an operator is to convert an existing tour coach to PSVAR-specification and up-seat it. The Holmeswood Neoplan Tourliner on the stand has been to the MOBIpeople factory in Portugal and had the conversion work done, and is now fitted with 70 seats in 3×2 configuration. We have just done a deal with Heyfordian Travel which is taking three Tourliner tri-axles that will be converted to 80-seaters. Vehicles can be turned around in just eight weeks and our next unsold slot is the end of this month.

“We also supply the Beulas product on an MAN chassis; the Aura on the stand is the first new Beulas we have supplied to JB Travel. Based on a RR4 chassis with a 470bhp engine, it has 61 seats and is a fully PSVAR- compliant executive coach.”



A surprise was the conversion of ‘New Routemaster’ LT11 to fully electric drive. RICHARD WALTER

Electrification specialist Equipmake showcased its latest pure-electric bus technology at the NEC, in the shape of a zero-emission version of the ‘New Routemaster’ double-decker bus. Hidden under a black drape, the company ceremoniously unveiled the bus which has been repowered by Equipmake, with its hybrid drivetrain replaced by Equipmake’s Zero Emission Drivetrain (ZED), which uses 95% British-built component content.

With pre-service trials already started in London, operated by Metroline, the electric version of the New Routemaster will continue to be assessed over the next six months. The programme will deliver valuable test data as Transport for London (TfL) continues to evaluate a range of clean technologies, including repower systems such as Equipmake’s ZED. Charging infrastructure at Metroline’s Holloway depot, alongside battery data analytics for the bus, is being provided by EV fleet and battery storage specialist Zenobē.

A new Agrale chassis was shown that features Equipmake HTM-3500 motor. RICHARD SHARMAN

The repowered New Routemaster, developed by Equipmake at its base in Snetterton, Norfolk, features a 400kWh battery enabling an expected in-service range of 150 miles – more than enough for a day’s running. The development of the all-electric New Routemaster came about thanks to a programme funded by the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). Ian Foley, CEO of Equipmake, explained: “Repowering is a vital, cost-effective transitionary technology that can bridge the gap between diesel and a new electric bus fleet. We are delighted to showcase our latest repower system in the shape of a zero-emission version of the iconic New Routemaster double-decker bus here today at Euro Bus Expo.

“London is leading the way in the adoption of green technologies for large commercial vehicles and as TfL continues to evaluate a range of clean technologies, we are confident our repower systems can play a rapid role in accelerating any zero-emission vehicle strategy.”

Adrian Jones, Engineering Director at operator Metroline, said: “Metroline is delighted to trial this innovative fully-electric New Routemaster bus in London. Repowering technology has huge potential in enabling operators to accelerate the transition of fleets to zero emissions and we look forward to further evaluating this test vehicle over the coming six months.”

The Equipmake stand also attracted many visitors with its display of an unbodied MT17.0 LF electric bus chassis, in partnership with Agrale. The 10.85m chassis features Equipmake’s own HTM-3500 motor with ZF axles and steering.

Over the coming months, Equipmake said it will be trialling additional repowered buses with other operators across the UK, following on from a contract by First Bus to convert 12 Optare Versas from existing ‘Generation One’ electrical systems to Equipmake’s ZED. Conversion work has been carried out on the first Versa at Equipmake’s Snetterton headquarters, and the vehicle was shown at the NEC prior to returning to York. Also on show at the NEC was the first Volvo B5LH repower, carried out on a former Preston Bus Wrightbus Gemini 2.


The e-Shuttle’s radical design sets it apart from anything else. JONATHAN WELCH
The saloon has been designed to appeal to a younger, style conscious demographic. JONATHAN WELCH

Another vehicle that was catching the eye of passers-by was the low-floor battery electric e-Shuttle from Austrian manufacturer Eversum. Part of a family of vehicles offered or projected by the manufacturer, the e-Shuttle is designed for inner-city, last-mile, commuter and shuttle services of all kinds, including airport applications both land-side and air-side, campus and resort shuttles and hospitality.

Managing Partner Pete Speck explained that the company is seeking to expand its geographic reach for the new e-Shuttle, and looking to break into the UK market, which along with the Benelux countries it sees as more open and less tied to traditional manufacturers than more central and southern European countries. Based in Graz, the company is relatively young, having been founded around 20 years ago, and has experience in the ground support and software development fields behind it.

“We looked at and adapted what we’d learned about building buses and what customers had told us, and introduced it into our design,” Pete explained. “Our goal is to become a manufacturer of only electric vehicles. We also have our electric tourist train, which is very different and sets itself apart from the other usual ones that are out there.

“We’re trying to appeal to a younger audience and give our product a different feeling. We want to create a different feeling on board, and an atmosphere that younger people are not ashamed to be seen travelling on the bus.

“The design is fully modular, the example we’re exhibiting is 8.4 metres but we can increase or decrease the number of modular elements to make a 6.9 or 5.4 metre version. There is modularity in the frame, so doors and wheelchair ramps can be in any position, on either side, or both. The driver’s cab can be moved easily to the other side too. If we receive an order for a right hand drive bus, we will build it.”

The e-Shuttle has 13.5cm-thick batteries mounted in the floor within the galvinised steel chassis, which are capable of at least 8,000 charge cycles. Three strings of three batteries are housed in the floor, whilst additional capacity can be offered via an extra battery pack mounted in the lower ‘boot’ space at the rear over the wheels, above which are housed the high voltage electronics. As displayed, the bus offers a range of up to 150km, extendable to around 200km. Although the lightweight upper body structure is not designed to support additional batteries, opportunity charging can be accommodated using roof rails, whilst a hydrogen fuel cell range extender mounted in the rear, with hydrogen tanks on the roof, is also a possibility.

”We’ve also been approached by companies which develop autonomous vehicles,” explained Pete. “because they have the technology but no vehicle. We can supply the e-Shuttle autonomous-ready, so the customer can have a driver today, but be prepared for a future move to autonomous travel. We won’t get into the autonomous vehicles ourselves, but we can supply the vehicles.”

The ‘wheel-forward’ layout adopted by the e-Shuttle takes the concept a step further by pushing the smaller rear wheels right to the back, allowing for maximum interior space. And whilst the saloon sits at low-floor level, the raised cab over the front axle still feels just as airy and spacious thanks to the raised roofline at the front.

Apart from a high dashboard restricting the view immediately in front of the vehicle (an odd feature given the depth of the windscreen), the cab area felt well laid out with an array of clear, soft-touch buttons and all-digital display. A camera mirror system is fitted; Eversum says that traditional mirrors will not be an option for the futuristically styled vehicle.

Turning to the show itself, Pete noted that it had been good in terms of quality and quantity of visitors, with many expressing interest in the product. Will it sell? Available for a ‘competitive price, considerably cheaper than a 12m bus,’ the striking external design could prove somewhat ‘marmite’ but the interior with its wood-effect floor, which curves into the side walls to remove corners and aid cleaning, scores points for space and ambience with its use of high and low level blue lighting.


The AOS Novo City Volt made its UK debut at the show. RICHARD SHARMAN
A surprise reveal was a Cummins-engined AOS Grand Toro for Newport Transport. RICHARD SHARMAN

EVM UK’s range has undergone considerable change since the company last exhibited at the NEC, as has been well-documented within CBW. Euro Bus Expo was an important show for the firm to debut many of its new products, and it certainly had a strong presence, taking up a large area of the hall and displaying the most vehicles out of all the exhibitors.

This was a show of force that meant multiple vehicle manufacturers were represented, and models included the Altas e-Cityline low floor bus which had been wrapped for a Sky staff shuttle service, a 19-seat Grand Tourer from Carbus, a top of the range X-Clusive and a 33-seat Erener Revolution.

As well as the zero-emission e-Cityline, EVM displayed its new Iveco Daily-based electric CM (Composite Mobility) accessible minibus. This bus has an unladen weight of just 5,210kgs and can carry 33 passengers plus driver, or be equipped with an underfloor PLS lift and tracking throughout to allow for eight wheelchair passengers. It has been fitted with an Elinta 380V electric motor, with the batteries mounted in what would be the engine bay, and charging available by AC or DC charger.

The headline story for this product though, is that it ticks the box for being electric (though it can also be supplied on diesel Sprinter and Daily variants), has a high capacity, but is also environmentally sound as when the base vehicles reaches the end of its life, the body can be swapped from one chassis to another thanks to the composite materials it is made from.

The show was also an important introduction to the Anadolu Isuzu (AOS) brand, with the new Cummins-engined Gran Toro and Visigo RHD midicoaches making their first appearance; those shown were for Newport Transport and Allenby Coach Hire respectively. A left hand drive Novo City Volt electric bus was also displayed for operators to inspect.



GM Coachwork

A GM Coachwork-converted Ford E-Transit was on demonstration duties outside the hall. RICHARD SHARMAN

The Devon-based vehicle converter had two vehicles on display, a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter bound for Axe Valley & West Dorset Ring & Ride and a Maxus eDeliver 9. GM Coachwork can offer the electric minibus with a choice of 12 or 14 seats, or 9 to 10 seats with removable seats and electric passenger lift for wheelchair access. The eDeliver 9 has a range of up to 220 miles and can be charged in 45 minutes.







The 12m Higer Azure EV bus attracted much attention throughout the show. RICHARD SHARMAN
Three Higer Steeds were on display at the show, including this smart Airport Flyer example. JONATHAN WELCH
The Crusader X33 low floor minibus can seat an impressive 33 passengers and also comes with air-conditioning and double glazing as standard. RICHARD SHARMAN

Harris Bus and Coach

Dublin-based Harris Bus & Coach, which is also soon to open a base in Liverpool, provided a strong showing of PSVAR-compliant buses from the Higer range, displaying three of its Steed zero-emissions product which has been gaining momentum in recent months with healthy orders in Ireland – one of which must be a contender for ‘best livery at show’; the Airport Flyer blue and white with chrome alloy wheels and colour-co-ordinated mirrors looked superb. The Steed, which has been delivered to Irish operators as well as UK-based The Big Lemon, is one of a growing number of mid-size electric bus options which manufacturers hope will appeal to operators seeking a less expensive route into e-mobility and who don’t need the expense or battery weight of a full-size bus. Tested in left-hand drive form by CBW a number of years ago, the models on display showed what can be done to offer a quality feel to the passenger saloon of a small bus. Of note was the unusual folding step arrangement facilitating access to the driver’s cab area.

The Steed is powered by roof and rear mounted CATL lithium iron batteries with a capacity of 174kWh or an option of 210kWh. These batteries power a Prestolite Epropulsion motor giving a range of 300km.

The other Higer product on the stand was the attractively styled Azure 12m electric bus, powered by the same type of batteries as the Steed but with 350kWh capacity and a Prestolite MD130D motor. The Azure has a seating capacity that ranges from 26 seats in airport dual-door configuration, to a 46 with a single door. With a claimed range of 470km and DC fast charging in two hours, it offers a good package for operators looking for a full size option. The vehicle on the stand featured Kiel seating.

Another strong contender for the UK market is the Iveco Daily-based Crusader X33. As the name suggests, it can seat 33 passengers in a body that has a length of 8,850mm and is only 2,305 wide. In addition it has a long list of features that come as standard, such as saloon double glazing, air-conditioning and a reversing camera. The vehicle on display was liveried for Transport for Ireland’s Local Link routes.

General Manager Chris Haughton also revealed at the show that a number of other new electric products are on the way: “We have a 55-seater two axle intercity electric coach on the way in the coming months, an electric version of the Higer Pegasus. We are currently working on what battery capacity we will fit, and have an engineer working with a small fleet of these vehicles in Israel. The coach has received European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval and currently has a 350kWh battery capacity, but we are waiting to see three months’ figures to see how they perform in service before deciding on if we increase that or not.

“The benefit of supplying Higer products is that the lead time is only 16 weeks plus shipping; the reason for this is that we have already taken the production slots in advance and then specify the order three weeks prior to production starting. We order the vehicles in base white, but still have some flexibility to specify a customer livery up to a certain point whilst the vehicle is going through the factory. The Azure and Steed products are doing well and offer operators a number of configurations, and whilst chassis are hard to get at the moment, I have secured 50 Iveco Dailys for the Crusader range, with 20 units sold and another 30 coming through the factory soon.”

Other new vehicles electric vehicles on the way are the Sema Maxi, which is a 26-seater and promises a 300km range. This is due to arrive in the second quarter of 2023, along with the articulated fully electric 18m Higer Goliath.

The first new vehicle for Tamar Coaches is an Ilesbus Glance. RICHARD SHARMAN
An Ilesbus I-City was displayed in the livery of MD Buses of Devon. Four similar examples are due for First South West’s Mousehole service next month. RICHARD SHARMAN

Ilesbus UK

Gary Johns and his team from Ilesbus brought along a selection of five vehicles from both the coach and the PSVAR-compliant range. One of the stand-out liveries at the show was on the Iveco Daily-based Ilesbus Glance bound for Tamar Coachers, the Plymouth-based operator’s first new vehicle purchase. The 29-seat model has proved popular in the market in straight coach format, or in PSVAR-compliant specification, an example of which was shown liveried for Haines Coaches.

A high specification Ilesbus Harmony bound for Bradfords Executive Travel proved a popular attraction on the stand with its dramatically curved side glazing and and luxurious interior.

The I-City range from Ilesbus has proved popular with independent operators on both the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Iveco Daily platforms. Weardale Motor Services has taken the longer I-City Max which uses the 70C21 chassis, uprated to 8,000kg GVW, allowing for 32 seats. The shorter Mercedes-Benz I-City variant also featured on the stand for MD Buses of Devon and was fitted out to a high specification that included diamond-stitched leather seating and curtains. That model has also been selected by First Bus as the perfect vehicle to operate a bus service from Penzance to the narrow village streets of Mousehole in Cornwall. The four vehicles are due to arrive next month.



One of two vehicle suppliers flanking the entrance to the hall, Irizar’s stand attracted some attention from attendees thanks to the distinctive and unusual ‘ie tram’ in bright London red, which had made it to the UK just in time for the event. With its unusual single-leaf front door and rounded lines, the new bus for London is bound to provoke positive and negative reactions. Whichever side of the fence you’re on, there’s no doubting it is distinctive. Topped up via a 500kW charger at each terminus point, the ie trams reflect Irizar’s push to expand its UK presence and position itself as a provider of electric mobility.

The ie tram offers a striking new look for London. RICHARD SHARMAN
Irizar’s i4 and i6s have both undergone a ‘lightweighting.’ JONATHAN WELCH

From a driver’s perspective, the ie tram’s cab area appeared large and spacious, although with thick A-pillars. The nearside features a low window ahead of the door to give good kerbside visibility – something which passengers also have thanks to the unusual low windows along each side. The saloon felt spacious and modern, whilst the unusual rear layout sees a back row formed of 2+1 seating; the single seat will no doubt be popular. Blue lighting above the saloon windows has been designed to change colour, switching from a ‘cold’ blue when temperatures are warm, to a ‘warm’ red in colder weather.

The 12.16m vehicle – long for a London single-decker – is fitted with a camera mirror system, whilst the frontal design was modified to move the windscreen wipers to above the windscreen to meet TfL pedestrian safety standards. Also notable for a London bus was the relaxation of the ‘all-red’ philosophy to allow the design to retain its silver ‘outline’ highlights. Seat headrests, bell pushes and handrails have all been specified in the same exterior red, to give a homogenous feel.

Other vehicles represented on Irizar’s stand were a reminder of the marque’s more traditional fare; an i8 and i6s Efficient. The former displayed an interior with minimal overhead racks, and is destined for conversion to football team-specification, whilst the latter gave visitors a chance to look over the recently-launched, aerodynamically refined, fuel-saving offering. Both coaches featured camera mirror systems. The latest i4 was also on display; like its bigger sibling, the i4 has also lost some weight – up to 955kg – and has seen the wheelchair lift move to a position within a rear door, making access for wheelchair users much safer and less precarious than on the standard outboard wheelchair lift, since a large proportion of the trajectory will be within the body of the coach. A further benefit is the reduction of space lost in the luggage lockers to accommodate the lift.



Jones Coach & Bus Sales/Noone Turas

Two variants of the new Iveco Daily-based Rosero Connect were displayed; this is the 27 seater. RICHARD SHARMAN
The DAF LF-based Noone Turas 900s has been revised so that the wheelchair lift is now located above the nearside rear wheel, saving boot space. RICHARD SHARMAN

Jones Coach & Bus Sales is now the official Noone Turas dealer for England and Wales, so jointly presented a selection of vehicles with Brian Noone. The NEC provided the backdrop for the launch of the revised PSVAR-compliant Turas 900s and the Rosero Connect, for which Brian Noone is the Irish and UK distributor. The low-floor Connect model is based on the Iveco Daily and is available with 27 seats, or 29 seats plus courier. This recent contender for the low floor minibus crown appears to be well built and specified, with the 29-seat version being a good contender to operate on both service work and private hires with having a courier seat.

The new Turas 900s has seen a revision to the PSVAR specification that has moved the wheelchair lift from within the boot to a PLS access eco cassette lift mounted over the rear axle, which means that the large boot space is retained and gives the model a total of 6m3 of luggage space when combined with the side lockers.

The Turas 900s is based on the DAF LF chassis and the operator can choose from manual or automated ZF transmissions, with a wide variety of optional equipment to provide customers with a unique tailored choice. Seating capacity ranges from 33 to 37.







Rochdale-based Mellor has built upon early demand for its Sigma electric bus range and reports further significant orders from the UK and Europe to boost its order book. On display on the Mellor stand at the NEC were the Sigma 7 and the Sigma 8 models, the latter was making its public debut. The Sigma 10 was also in attendance outside the hall and gave Mellor the opportunity to provide visitors to the stand with a ride around the NEC’s surrounding area.

The Mellor team were in high spirits with the new 8.5m Sigma 8 model, which offers a 54-passenger capacity – 27 seated and 27 standees – appearing in the metal. “We’re definitely shaking things up in the bus market,” said Mellor Bus Division Sales Director Mark Clissett, “we’ve filled a gap where operators have previously been acquiring over-sized, over-spec’d vehicles which continue to be under-utilised. Mellor, on the other hand, offers the right tool for the job. A fully-electric, affordable, size-appropriate bus range which delivers a no-compromise solution. And our competitors are playing catch-up. Only recently,” he added, “a well-known player in the market has said it will introduce an electric midibus in 2023 – while the Mellor Sigma range is available today.”

The Sigma 10 was available for demonstration outside the halls. RICHARD SHARMAN
The interior is of high quality and features Lazzerini seats. RICHARD SHARMAN

The electric bus range, which comprises six distinct models between seven and 12 metres in length, has proven to be a success for Mellor, with in excess of 100 orders reported in the UK and Europe. The company has most recently confirmed orders with accessible vehicle rental firm London Hire for a low-floor accessible Sigma 7, plus a fleet order for Sigma 8s for a regional operator.

Mark continued: “We’re delighted that the demand for our electric Sigma range has continued apace. Operators of Sigma models will include local authorities, DRT firms and stage carriage service providers, demonstrating the truly versatile nature of the range. The Sigma range is also a key to open the door to electrification for our customers, many of whom haven’t previously had access to a suitable vehicle at a cost-effective price point.”

Mellor has also received orders from a number of local authorities, including Sigma 7 and Sigma 9 high-floor buses for the London Borough of Islington, a high floor Sigma 7 for East Riding Yorkshire Council and Sigma 10s for Dumfries & Galloway Council.

Mark also confirmed to CBW at the show that it will supply a fleet of Sigma buses to Ascendal Group-owned Whippet for its newly awarded eight-year contract from University of Cambridge, which is to provide a fleet of electric buses from July 2023 for a route subsidised by the university and which carries around 60,000 people per week.

Sales success overseas

Mellor says it has also enjoyed notable sales success for the Sigma range in mainland Europe, focused around the Scandinavian and German-speaking regions, where a total of 49 confirmed orders have been placed – including a large order for a high-profile Swedish operator. Mellor has also provided a left-hand-drive Sigma 7 demonstrator for prospective customers, with an intensive demonstration programme planned for Germany, Sweden and Holland in the coming months.

The high-floor Sigma 7 is seen undergoing road testing in Scarborough. MELLOR

“The appeal of Sigma is certainly not limited to the UK,” said Gustavo Marqueta-Siibert, International Business Development Director at Mellor. “There’s healthy demand across Europe for size- and cost-appropriate electric buses that can be deployed on a huge variety of route and service patterns. In addition to orders received,” he said, “we have strong interest from even more operators keen to understand how Sigma can benefit them.”

Mellor is part of the WN VTECH group of companies, which comprises Coleman Milne, VCS Ltd, Treka Bus, Binz International and Promech Technologies. Fellow group member Treka Bus also showed it’s new patient transport service model, displayed on a Ford Transit, but also available on the Fiat Ducato and Renault Master. It features a full wipe clean interior for infection control, wheelchair ramp, quick release winch and Oxylitre system.


Pelican Yutong

An E12 for TrawsCymru routes, and an E10 for Newport Transport were on display, showing two different styles of roofline. Both are fitted with camera mirror systems. JONATHAN WELCH
No less than five TCe12 electric coaches were on display inside and outside the hall. RICHARD SHARMAN

Yutong dealer Pelican Bus & Coach took a large stand at this year’s show, a sign of both its recent successes in the electric bus market and its confidence in the future. Pelican had on display a pair of single-deckers – an E10 for Newport Transport and an E12 for TrawsCymru routes – alongside a GT12 for AVA Coach, an example of its best-selling model the TC9 midicoach, and one of five TCe12 electric coaches at the show, demonstrating the model’s growing appeal and hightlighting the perhaps understandable lack of alternative from other manufacturers in what is a growing, but still small, segment of the market.

The company was also showing its range of 20kW and 42kW portable chargers, which allow buses to be charged from a standard industrial three-phase supply, and with reduced initial infrastructure costs, albeit at a slower rate than using a fixed, high-capacity charger.

Parts Manager Mick Rose explained that good progress has been made on the new national parts distribution centre, as well as the new showroom premises in Castleford, another sign of Pelican’s push to grow its market segment and support existing Yutong operators. He added that it’s vital to have the capacity not just to be able to provide immediate support to operators who won’t want an expensive asset sitting around waiting for parts from China, but also to accommodate locally-sourced parts that are fitted once the base buses arrive in the UK from the Yutong factory, such as seats, which need to be on hand ready to install.

“We’ve recently expanded our parts team from two to eight,” he added. “We’re expanding at an amazing rate. There are over 1,000 Yutongs in the UK, so we need to be able to serve those operators as well as our own workshop and completion centre. I can see great growth in the next 12 months.

“The amount of stock we keep is double what we keep for our MAN and DAF truck business combined, but we have to as China is so far away. We’re not just the dealer, we’re the importer. If sales are going to flourish, we need to provide the back-up, not just the vehicles. It’s great that we have such fantastic support from Yutong too, and from Pelican. It’s a family-owned company, so it’s easy to be able to make decisions and push things forwards. Our parts prices are very competitive too.”

The Ford E-Transit converted by Minibus Options for ACE Training. RICHARD SHARMAN

PHVC Minibus and Fleet Suppliers

The Fareham-based vehicle supplier had two new Ford Transits on its stand, the first being an E-Transit converted by Minibus Options and bound for Oxfordshire-based Construction Training and Apprenticeship specialists ACE Training. The company will be charging Ford’s latest offering from solar panels in its own roof space. The second vehicle on the stand was for The White House in Curdridge, which specialises in caring for people of all ages with dementia. This was also an E-Transit, but converted by GoweringsVersa Mobility and featured an PLS Access underfloor lift.

Paul Huxford, Managing Director of PHVC, said: “I am very pleased to confirm that the new Ford E-Transit 15-seater electric minibus order take has been extremely encouraging and I am delighted to confirm that our first batch of these minibuses will be delivered to our customers during the 4th quarter of 2022.”



Scania has developed the Fencer F1, which now sports a brand new chassis and Euro VI Step E engine. RICHARD SHARMAN
A Scania Irizar i6s Efficient built to full PSVAR specification was shown that included side collision sensors mounted behind the front axle. RICHARD SHARMAN

The Scandinavian manufacturer displayed two vehicles and one chassis on its large stand, the first of which is the Fencer F1 which made its original debut in 2021 so that Scania could show the model to operators and gather feedback. The original demonstrator, as tested by CBW, was then sold to PC Coaches of Lincoln.

The new demonstrator, that includes a 200kg weight saving, features a new K280C B4X2LB chassis with a new Step E Euro VI diesel-engine in the form of the Scania DC07 113 mated to a ZF 6AP1220B Ecolife six-speed gearbox. At 10.94m and seating 38 with 40 standees, the partnership between Higer and Scania on this product will be attractive option for both independent and group operators. The demonstrator has been fitted out to a high specification, but of particular note in the cab is the fitment of an electropneumatic handbrake and camera mirrors, both of which were not included on the original demonstrator. Of note too on the exterior of the vehicle is that the lavish body mouldings applied to the original demonstrator around the wheel arches have not been specified this time around, presumably based on feedback from operators and practicality.

Also of much interest on the stand was the unbodied C248E B4X2EI chassis, this being the show debut of Scania’s electric bus chassis offering and electric drivetrain. The low-floor chassis is fitted with 10 Northvolt battery packs, Scania’s own MG4115-1 electric propulsion unit and GE21S21 gearbox. Scania’s partnership with Northvolt started in 2018 when the two companies established a specialist team, and the partners work together at Northvolt’s research facility in Västerås, Sweden, to develop and commercialise production of battery cells optimised to power commercial vehicles.

Representing one of Scania’s coach offerings was the new Irizar i6s Efficient-bodied Scania K4120C B6X2 4IB. The 59-seater features a Masats KSB semi-automatic wheelchair lift over the nearside rear axle. The 410hp Scania DC13 163 Euro VI Step E engine, which can run on Biodiesel, HVO or standard diesel, is driven through the Scania GRS895R 12-speed Opticruise gearbox.

Switch Mobility

An e1 was on display in plain white. JONATHAN WELCH
The MetroCity was on display in its shortest length, and with the latest TfL pedestrian impact safety features, whilst Switch sought to start a conversation about what comes next for the Solo. JONATHAN WELCH

Celebrating its first birthday as Switch, the manufacturer’s stand at this year’s show was designed to be different and reflect the re-invigorated brand’s ethos and aims. Besides the vehicles, the stand used sound and smell to entice visitors and convey more subliminal messages; birdsong and the aroma of green grass were designed to put show-goers into the eco-friendly, climate aware frame of mind, hinting subtly at the topics that electric vehicle manufacturers want to be seen as working towards. The stand had three distinct themes: At one side was the new e1; this time, unlike the highly finessed bus unveiled at Paris, the plain white vehicle on display made less of an impression, having lost some of the colour from the interior panels which makes the design so striking and gave it flow and drama.

On the other, an example of a short-wheelbase MetroCity in the latest TfL specification, complete with less than flattering ‘facemask’ around the windscreen wiper spindles, added to the neat original design to meet London’s latest bus safety requirements. Between them, the two contrasting single-deckers showed the brand’s future, and its present.

Not to be forgotten, and for a long time Switch predecessor Optare’s calling card, was an electric Solo. Switch explained that this wasn’t at the show to show off, but more as a conversation-starter about what should come next. The Solo has served the industry well since its inception, but with new electric buses with similar layouts popping up, and with a new direction at Switch, the company was keen to hear thoughts from operators about what it’s replacement should look like. “It’s been the quintessential rural bus, it’s what we’ve been known for,” said Josh Moore, Switch’s Director of Marketing and Communication. “We can’t forget what the Solo was and what it means.” Whatever the replacement might be, it will be a ‘small bus with a big bus feel,’ Josh said, and added that the Solo and MetroCity have the advantage of being largely sourced and built in the UK, making it easy to incorporate operator feedback.

Looking at the wider picture, Josh suggested that the ownership model offered by the company in India might be a way to help smaller UK operators finance and operate electric buses.

The MD9 was launched at the 2019 show, and had a relaunch this year. JONATHAN WELCH
The show vehicle was liveried for Caledonian Travel, but will not enter service with that operator. JONATHAN WELCH


Temsa had two vehicles on display, one of which only just made it to the show in time. A smaller stand did no harm to the manufacturer’s figures over the three-day show, with Regional Sales Manager Paul Gardner reporting the brand’s best ever Euro Bus Expo thanks to a total of 29 confirmed sales. On display were the latest versions of the MD9 and HD13, the former being launched at the 2019 show and offering a 39-seat PSVAR option, and having somewhat of a post-pandemic relaunch.

The HD13, liveried in the colours of Caledonian Travel for the show, though not entering service with that tour operator, was a sign of the way the market is heading, Paul said, with a capacity for 57 at a very competitive price. The model has seen some recent updates, including ‘pegasus wing’ rear light clusters replacing the previous individual lights, and a similarly updated face at the front to include all-LED lighting, whilst the driver gets an all-digital dashboard display. In a further sign of the way the industry is heading, PSVAR-specification is standard, although the lift and destination screens can be deleted on request.

TBC Conversions

Northern Ireland and North West-based TBC Conversions displayed an MAN TGE 17-seat accessible minibus. Sixteen of those those seats can be removed to accommodate six wheelchair users. This was the only example of the popular TGE model on show at the NEC and attracted much attention. This van-derived model featured Rescroft CT Lite seating, with NMI quick release legs, a PLS inboard passenger lift to the rear, a Stem cantilever step at the entry door and a Eberspächer rear saloon heater for passenger comfort.

TBC Conversions showed a MAN TGE that had been converted into 16-seat minibus with a rear mounted inboard PLS lift. RICHARD SHARMAN

On the final day of the show it was announced that TBC Conversions had been shortlisted as Manufacturer of the Year in Northern Ireland’s Business Eye Awards. Commenting on the shortlist, David Donnell, Managing Director at TBC Conversions, said: “We are thrilled to be shortlisted for Manufacturer of the Year at the highly esteemed Business Eye Awards, recognising our dedication to going above and beyond to not only meet, but exceed customer expectations. We pride ourselves on the ability to deliver conversions that fulfil our customers’ unique requirements whilst providing an unrivalled service and high-quality finish.

“Being shortlisted for this award is a real testament to our staff, who are committed to ensuring the customer remains at the heart of our manufacturing process.”

Part of Donnelly Group, the largest independently owned motor retailer in Northern Ireland, TBC Conversions operates across the UK and Ireland in partnership with vehicle partners including Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Citroen, Vauxhall and Fiat.













Van Hool

Van Hool displayed three customer vehicles, including this impressive Altano over-decker for Tynedale, and an EX15 for Woods of Tillycoultry.





Volvo Buses showcased its 9700 and BZL electric bus, in addition to celebrating 50 years in the UK & Ireland at Euro Bus Expo. Having first come to the UK and Ireland 50 years ago with the B58 coach and Ailsa bus models, the manufacturer showed off the new 13-litre 9700 and single-deck version of its BZL electric bus.

The Volvo BZL demonstrator, bodied by MCV, looked impressive on the stand. RICHARD SHARMAN
The updated Volvo 9700 features a revised engine, driver’s cab and steering wheel.

Volvo says the 9700 coach and BZL electric bus highlight its focus on passenger and driver experience and sustainable transport solutions. Launched in June 2022, the 9700 boasts an all new 13-litre engine and a new driver’s environment, delivering improved fuel efficiency and safety. The exterior, says Volvo, combines attitude and elegance with excellent aerodynamics and the manufacturer’s signature V-shaped lights.

On the inside the 9700 introduces a new dynamic curved dashboard, suspended seat and driver assist features including Volvo Dynamic Steering and a driver alert system. The 9700 on display was officially handed over to Halpenny Travel at the show.

Meanwhile, the BZL single-decker further demonstrated to visitors the ongoing partnership with MCV.