Optare has added to its popular Versa range with an 11.7 metre model that has the passenger capacity of a 12 metre single-decker, but which weighs in at less than eight tonnes.
The company believes that the lower capital cost and fuel saving potential of such a low-weight model, able to carry up to 44 seated passengers, will prove particularly appealing to operators of inter-urban services.
Four of the new model have already been delivered to Arriva, and Optare also reports considerable interest from a number of other operators needing to respond to the more challenging fiscal environment and looking for the lowest possible cost per seat in this class of vehicle.
The 11.7 metre model draws significantly on Optare’s use of an extended Versa platform in the development of a hybrid school bus. Glenn Saint, Chief Technical Officer, said that the school buses, which have a seating capacity of 57 using a 3+2 arrangement, presented particular challenges in regard to keeping the weight down.
“We were able to meet those challenges and saw the opportunity to carry across the weight saving measures to an extended Versa. The result is this 11.7 metre diesel model weighing less than eight tonnes which will undoubtedly impact positively on the already acknowledged excellent fuel efficiency of our Versa models and further improve their revenue earning potential”, said Mr Saint.