Alexander Dennis’s Low Height ‘Decker
Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) has launched an advanced low-height, inner-city double-decker bus, writes FRANK BEETON.
Last year, we reported on the launch of ADL’s new Euro-6, two-axle double-decker; designated Enviro400. Powered by a Euro-6 6,7-litre Cummins diesel engine, it featured a lightweight bolted structure of aluminium extrusions, stainless steel, composite roof panels and an integrated steel chassis frame. The E400 line-up included low-height (4,3 m) and standard-height (4,4 m) variants.
ADL has a strong focus on international business, with partnerships in North America, Hong Kong, Malaysia, New Zealand, Australia and the Middle East.
At the American Public Transit Association’s exhibition, held in Houston during October, 2014, the British manufacturer announced the development of a new low-height version of its three-axle Enviro500 design; adding a 4,1-m-high option to the 4,27 and 4,17 m versions already on offer. The manufacturer claims that this new option has retained the same interior dimensions as the higher models.
(Note: South African regulations limit the maximum height of double-decker buses to 4,65 m, and other vehicles to 4,3 m.)
The technical specification of the new 12,9-m-long Enviro500 includes a Cummins ISL9 turbocharged and intercooled six-cylinder diesel engine, developing 246 or 285 kW (330 or 380 hp) with EPA 2013 compliance; Allison B500R, Voith D854.6 W53 or ZF 6AP1700B 6-speed automatic transmissions; integral retarder and full air suspension.
The low height is obtained by using a deep drop-beam front axle, drop-centre rear axle and deep drop-beam steering rear trailing axle.
The gross vehicle mass rating is 26 500 kg, and the vehicle has an overall width of 2 520 mm. Passenger capacity is stated as 86 seated and 14 standing, and accommodation for two wheelchairs is provided.
The low-height Enviro500 is capable of operating in most of the United States of America (USA) and Canada without requiring an over-height permit. Orders for more than 60 units were placed on the first two days of the show. These covered vehicles intended for inner-city transit and inter-urban commuter operations, and the manufacturer expects strong demand to continue.
Enviro500 buses for the North American market are currently built in the United Kingdom, but contract manufacture in the USA is reportedly envisaged, should the level of demand warrant such a step.