Orion International 'Orion VII'

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Orion VII
Years of manufacture 2007 to 2012
Length 32.5 to 40 feet
Width 102 inches
Propulsion Diesel, Diesel-electric
hybrid, CNG

The Orion International Orion VII was a low floor, North American transit bus. It was introduced in 2007 as the Orion VII Next Generation and was the successor to the first generation Orion VII. The Next Generation name was dropped after an update in 2010. Production of the Orion VII ended in 2012 after Daimler shut down their bus operations in Canada and the United States, with the last buses being 35-foot diesel-electric hybrid buses for Metra of Columbus, Georgia.


The Orion VII's structure was constructed from either carbon steel or stainless steel and clad with fibreglass and aluminum panels. Like the first generation Orion VII, it had a low floor towards the rear with steps to a high floor section after the rear doors.

The engine was mounted longitudinally at the rear in a T-drive arrangement. The Orion VII was available with conventional diesel, desiel-electric hybrid, or compressed natural gas (CNG) drivetrains. Diesel-powered models use a 125 gallon (473 litre) fuel tank placed under the high floor section. CNG-powered models have the fuel tanks housed in an enclosure on the roof. Hybrid models have their batteries in an enclosure on the roof.

BAE Systems announced they were working with Orion and Hydrogenics to integrate a fuel cell into an Orion VII in November 2006. The fuel cell provided by Hydrogenics worked as an auxiliary power unit with BAE's HybridDrive system and a diesel engine propelling the bus. Accessories such as air conditioning, air compressors, power steering, cooling fans and pumps, and a 28-volt electric power generator were powered by the fuel cell instead of the diesel engine.[1] By August 2010, the hydrogen fuel system and other roof accessories were installed, and the hybrid system and electric accessories were being installed. The bus was completed by late 2010 and entered revenue service with San Francisco MUNI for a yearlong test.[2]

Next Generation

Rear end of a Next Generation VII hybrid.

The Orion VII Next Generation, was the restyled and updated successor to the original Orion VII. It was launched in 2007 and was designed with features to meet the EPA 2007 emissions standard. The first Next Generation VII was delivered to Saint John Transit.

The Next Generation VII was distinguished by a sloped front end with new headlights and a protruding destination sign area. It used flush-mounted windows instead of the traditional windows used previously. The rear was restyled with a softer appearance and asymmetrical HVAC grill.

Early hybrid buses used the same sealed lead acid batteries and squared enclosure of the previous VII. When lithium ion batteries became the standard, a more rounded enclosure was used.


Conventional diesel EPA10 Orion VII.
Conventional diesel with BRT roof line.

In May 2010 at the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) Bus & Paratransit Conference, Orion introduced an updated model that met the EPA 2010 emissions standard.[3] Orion dropped the "Next Generation" name, however the bus is sometimes distinguished with the EPA10 designation. The HVAC was moved to the roof as most of the space it previously occupied was needed for the exhaust after-treatment system. On hybrid models, the propulsion control unit was moved from the roof to the area above the engine. The engine and generator on hybrids, initially placed transversely at the rear, was changed to an inline configuration. A number of EPA10 prototypes were built in 2009.

The EPA10 VII looks very similar to the Next Generation VII. A noticeable change was to the rear doors. Originally the same height as the windows, the rear door was made level in height with the front door. The driver's window was revised as well using a traditionally glazed design instead of the flush mounted one. The sliding window panes now had a frame around them to add strength. An option for traditionally glazed passenger windows was also made available. Examples of this option taken include buses for MTA Long Island Bus and the Toronto Transit Commission.

The grill above the engine compartment at the rear was changed from the asymmetrical shape to a crescent shape. The 2009 EPA10 prototypes do not have this rear, however.


The Orion VII was available with a bus rapid transit (BRT) styling package. This added a full length roof enclosure from the front to the rear. The concept debuted at the APTA Expo in 2008 where a rendering of the BRT-styled bus was displayed. Prototype bus PT1 was later fitted with this package and unveiled at Daimler Buses' Transit Clinic in Mississauga, Ontario. The BRT styling was soon revised later in 2010 with a more sloping destination sign area that was integrated into the front of the bus.


Model number Length
(feet, inches)
07.501 40' 10.5" 12,459
07.502 35' 11" 10,947
07.503 32' 5" 9,881



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Demonstrator and Engineering Units

Below is a list of known demonstrator and engineering buses

Fleet number Thumbnail Year VIN Engine Transmission Notes
1291 Orion VII NG 2007 Cummins ISB6.7 BAE Systems HybriDrive
hybrid system
  • Sometimes numbered with an "A" suffix
  • Converted to 2010-compliant HEV in 2009.
1292 2007 Cummins ISB BAE Systems HybriDrive
hybrid system
  • Sometimes numbered with an "A" suffix.
  • Exhibited at Earth Day at Grand Central event in April 2007 with "Earth Day at Grand Central" with child holding the earth wrap.
  • Demonstrated with MTA from July 27 to August 25, 2007; re-decalled in MTA blue stripe livery.
  • Featured modified battery cooling and 4ONE CitiSeat Pro passenger seats.
  • Received lithium ion batteries, tailpipe diffuser, and had decals removed in around 2009.
1294 2007 1VHHH3P2876702728 Cummins ISB BAE Systems HybriDrive
hybrid system
  • Sometimes numbered with an "A" suffix.
  • Originally in "HYBRID" with child holding the earth wrap, featured modified battery cooling, and built to MTA pre-production specs with TTC seating.
  • Demonstrated with MTA in summer 2007; wrap removed and MTA logos applied.
  • Received lithium ion batteries in 2008 and new blue and yellow "HYBRID" with clouds wrap.
  • Demonstrated at OC Transpo in September 2008.
  • Up for sale in late 2009; sold to Roosevelt Island Operating Corp. as #7.
1295 2007 1VHHH3P2276702739 Cummins ISB BAE Systems HybriDrive
hybrid system
  • Sometimes numbered with a "A" suffix.
  • To MTA pre-production specs.
  • Demonstrated with MTA summer 2007; decalled in MTA blue stripe livery.
  • Received new blue and yellow "HYBRID" with clouds wrap.
  • Demonstrated at OC Transpo in 2007.
  • Displayed at 2007 CUTA Trans-Expo.
  • Received lithium ion batteries in around 2009.
  • For sale on eBay November 2009; sold to MTB.
1319A 2008 Cummins ISB BAE Systems HybriDrive
hybrid system
  • To MTA production specs.
  • Fuel cell APU added in 2010.
  • Had a 1 year trial with MUNI.
    • Sold off in late 2014 and was spotted in Southern CA with no front end.
WO9353 2008 Cummins ISL9
  • EPA 2010 prototype
PT1 Orion Industires PT1-a.png 2009 Cummins ISB6.7 BAE Systems HybriDrive
hybrid system
  • EPA 2010 HEV demonstrator
  • Green base color with white roof stripe
  • Received BRT-styled roof fairings in 2010
  • Received redesigned rear in 2010
  • Underwent climatized testing at Thermo King in October 2010.
PT2 2009 2B1HH3V5XA5704605 Cummins ISB6.7 BAE Systems HybriDrive
hybrid system
PT3 Orion International PT3-a.jpg August 2009 2B1FH3G54A5704779 Cummins ISL9 ZF 6AP1400B
6 speed
  • EPA 2010 demonstrator
  • Green base colour with blue stripe
  • To Centro 1267 in 2012.
PT4 2009 2B1FH3G23A5704844 Cummins ISL9 ZF 6AP1400B
6 speed
  • EPA 2010 demonstrator
  • Green base colour with red stripe
  • To Centro 1268 in 2012.
PT5 2009 1VHHH3V58A6705195 Cummins ISB6.7 BAE Systems HybriDrive
hybrid system
  • EPA 2010 HEV demonstrator
  • Altoona Tested from May to October 2010.
  • Green base colour with black stripe
PT BARO 2009 Cummins ISB6.7 BAE Systems HybriDrive
hybrid system
  • EPA 2010 HEV "bad road" test bus
  • White base colour with green roof stripe
  • Has TTC-style blue accessibility lights
Sales 1 Orion International Sales 1-a.jpg 2010 1VHHH3P50A6705415 Cummins ISB6.7 BAE Systems HybriDrive
hybrid system
Sales 2 2010 1VHFH3G23A6705552 Cummins ISL9 ZF 6AP1400B
6 speed
  • EPA 2010 demonstrator
  • Redesigned rear end
  • Displayed at 2010 CUTA National Transit Conference May 16, 2010
  • Demoed with TANK and SORTA August 10, 2010
  • Demoed with TARC August 11, 2010
  • Arrived on Translink property February 2011.
  • Demoed with West Vancouver Municipal Transit March 30 - April 15.
  • Started in Service demo with Translink April 18 - May 18
  • Spotted in Edmonton on May 19th
PT6 August 2010 1VHGH3W53A6705986 Cummins Westport ISL G Allison B400R
  • EPA 2010 CNG demonstrator
  • Green base colour with tan stripe
  • Redesigned rear end
  • Traditionally glazed (framed) Arow passenger windows
  • To Centro 1269 in 2012.
Sales 3 August 2010 1VHHH3V22A6706963 Cummins ISB6.7 BAE Systems HybriDrive
hybrid system
PT7 2011 1VHHH3V50A6707135 Cummins ISL9 Allison H 40 EP
hybrid system
PT8 2011 2B1GH3W51B5707646 Cummins Westport ISL G
  • Yellow base colour
  • CNG powered
  • Featured a BRT-styled destination sign.
  • To Centro 1270 in 2012.


  1. BAE Systems to Participate in Fuel Cell Bus Program (Press release). BAE Systems. 13 November 2006. Retrieved on 07 April 2011.
  2. BAE Systems Projects (page 9). AB 118 Hydrogen Workshop. 29 September 2009. Retrieved on 07 April 2011.
  3. The Updated Orion VII Transit Bus for 2010 Makes its World Debut at the APTA Bus & Paratransit Conference (Press release). Daimler Buses North America. 3 May 2010. Retrieved on 3 May.
  • Personal notes & sightings
Orion Bus Industries / Orion International
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Orion I Orion II Orion III Orion IV Orion V Orion VI Orion VII Orion VII NG Orion VII EPA10