Lance creates a stir
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• Three bodybuilders have announced plans to take on Dennis's Lance single-decker bus chassis, which is due to be launched in May.
Walter Alexander of Falkirk will be the first to body the Lance — but Plaxton will also be bodying the Lance later this year, with its all-aluminium citybus body due to be launched this month (CM 24-30 January).
And Wigan-based Northern Counties is planning to show a Lance with its new Countybus all-aluminium body at the Bus & Coach Council show at the NEC in October. The Countybus body is also due to be shown at the NEC on an 8.5m Dennis Dart and an 11.5m Volvo B10M.
The Lance will be available in two sizes: a 10.6m and 11.6m. The latter can carry 52 seated and 24 standing passen gers with a 19m turning circle.
It is designed to DIPTAC standards with a 275mm step height and kneeling suspension and a 1,200mm-wide door. There is a centre door option and a flat floor. The Lance's Cummins C Series engine produces 157kW (211hp) through a push-button ZF automatic transmission. It has full-air suspension and ZE power steering.
Its in-line driveline, says Dennis, absorbs far less energy than more complex angledrive configurations associated with a transverse rear engine. Fuel economy is claimed to be around 15% improved.
This is the first product to be launched from Dennis's new £10rn Guildford factory. It was developed with computer aided design, enabling Dennis to perform detailed stress analysis of the chassis framework.
Dennis says that CAD has enabled it to rationalise the positioning of the drivefine and suspension, bracketry, pipe runs, cabling, compressed air and fuel tanks to give a much cleaner design.