|This article does not cite any references (sources). (June 2007)|
|Optare Excel/NABI 700SE|
An Optare Excel operated by Reading Buses.
Interior of an Optare Excel L1060 in Malta.
|Body and chassis|
|Doors||1 or 2 door|
|Floor type||Low floor
step-entrance (NABI 700SE)
|Transmission||Allison or Manual|
The Optare Excel is a low-floor full-size single-decker bus manufactured by Optare. Manufactured as an integral bus, the Excel was launched in 1995 as one of the first low-floor single-deck vehicles, replacing the step-entrance Optare Sigma. The styling of the body was in keeping with existing Optare products, especially at the rear. At the front, a simple flat panel with the Optare name was set between two pairs of twin headlamps, below a very large front windscreen.
Power came from a Cummins 6BT, a 6-cylinder turbo diesel engine. A Mercedes-Benz 900 series engine was an option with the Excel 2. Both transmitted their power via an Allison "World Series" B300R gearbox.
The Excel was built in a range of lengths, and in Optare tradition, the chassis code reflected this. An L960 was 9.6m in length; an L1000 was 10.0m in length, and so on; with L1070 and L1150 variants built. Seating ranged from 27 in the L960, 35 in the L1070, 43 in the L1150 and 45 in the L1180, although these figures can vary.
The Excel was updated in 1999, with the front similar to that of the Optare Solo and using round headlights, 2 less rear lights, and a repositioned fuel-filler cap. This was known as the Excel 2, which also replaced the Delta which by then had finished production, as well as the original Excel, which was still being sold until late 2000. Excel 2s were only built in L1070, L1150 and L1180 configurations.
Examples of the 11.8 m long Excel 2 (the longest version) were purchased by Wilts & Dorset, and Trent Barton, which still use them in service today. The Stagecoach Group only bought 16 Optare Excel 2s; these are in service in Chesterfield, Bassetlaw and South Yorkshire. Reading Buses bought 60 (45 bought new) original Optare Excels between 1997 and 2000, being the company's first low floor buses, all of which have now been sold between 2005 and 2008 and 4 Excel 2s for their Goldline shuttle bus service to Thames Valley Park in September 2000, but were cascaded to town work in late 2006 but were also sold in early 2010. Optare Excels used to run in London Buses, but it did not have a great reputation for its reliability and many major operators were quick to dispose of their Excels onto the second hand market after 2003.
Lodges Coaches Optare Excel 1 in High Easter in August 2010
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