A new “Decker” from Alexander Dennis

A new “Decker” from Alexander Dennis

FRANK BEETON reports that Alexander Dennis is taking on rival Optare.

Following on from July’s coverage of Optare’s new MetroCity, we can now also report that rival British bus builder, Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), has launched its own new two-axle double-decker, designated Enviro400 (E400).

ADL is Britain’s largest bus and coach manufacturer, with a long heritage dating back to the establishment of Dennis Brothers in 1895, and Walter Alexander coachbuilders in 1924.

Dennis buses were a fairly common sight in South Africa between the two world wars, and then made a brief reappearance, as Hestair-Dennis, during the 1980s. ADL currently has a strong focus on international business, with partnerships in North America, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia and the Middle East.

The new E400 has been developed after a three-year customer engagement programme involving more than 70
operators. Powered by a Euro-6, 6,7-litre Cummins diesel engine, it features a lightweight bolted structure of aluminium extrusions, stainless steel, composite roof panels and an integrated steel chassis frame.

The curved windscreen and rear windows are bonded into position, while each side window employs quick-release glazing allowing for three-minute replacement by a single operative working inside the bus.

The E400 is available in low-height (4,3 m) and standard-height (4,4 m) variants, and has a radical new heating and ventilation system that ensures a constant temperature throughout the bus.

ADL claimed, at time of launch, that it had already received some 400 orders for its new bus, at a total estimated value of £80 million (about R1,5 trillion). Four pre-production units had been built, and series production was due to commence in May at ADL’s Plaxton facility in Scarborough.

The E400 bodywork will be offered on ADL’s own Dennis chassis range at lengths of 10,3, 10,9 or 11,5 m, in four low-floor versions with single or double entrances, or on Euro-6 Scania and Volvo chassis.

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