Australian bus operators needing fewer seats than a standard bus are a bit bereft of options in the Aussie market.

Sure, there’s the long-established Rosa and Coaster, but you can’t do route work in one of them, while some of the other options available are mini-coach style vehicles and they have their own limitations (such as low-floor and disability access).

That’s where there were high hopes for the Hino Poncho, however, Hino announced last year that their bus sales in our market were on-hold due to “a lack of suitable products” in the Hino catalogue.

With that announcement went availaibility of the Poncho, a well-designed little rear engine/low floor offering that was ideal for low demand and tight access bus routes and services.

So, when might we see another option in our market? Well, nothing appears to be on the horizon at the moment, but this Alexander Dennis offering could be a good fit to fill the niche.

UK bus operator CT Plus has started on-road trials of the next-generation Alexander Dennis Enviro100EV “big small bus”.

The pilot is part of efforts by the States of Guernsey and bus operator CT Plus to find a suitable electric bus for the Channel Island’s narrow and winding roads.

At 2.35 metres wide and a length of 8.5 metres, the Enviro100EV has been designed to cope with these challenges, while having 25 seats and a maximum capacity of 45 passengers.

CT Plus and UK-based manufacturer Alexander Dennis will be analysing data on energy consumption, charging requirements and manoeuvrability on the Island’s bus routes.

“It’s great news that Guernsey is among the first to trial the Enviro100EV.” says Kevin Hart, CT Plus Director.

“This shows the continued commitment manufactures have to finding the right solution for the island.

“The bus has an impressive capacity for its small size as some three more can be accommodated on the Enviro100EV than can be taken on the current buses being used in Guernsey.”

The Enviro100EV can seat up to 45 passengers

Shaun Millar, National Account Manager for Alexander Dennis, said: “We expect that our ‘big small bus’ will perform well in Guernsey as its size and manoeuvrability make it ideal for the Island’s roads while offering passengers the comfort of a much larger vehicle.

“This is one of the first on-road trials of the Enviro100EV and we are really looking forward to analysing the results together with CT Plus.”

The Alexander Dennis Enviro100EV has a drive range of 285 miles (458km).

Unfortunately, Alexander Dennis has been out of action in Australia for a decade, maybe one day that might change?