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Coventry on the road to becoming UK’s first all-electric bus city

Posted: 22 November 2022 | | No comments yet

The 50 new National Express electric buses are the first of up to 300 new vehicles that are due to arrive over the next three years, as work continues to make Coventry the UK’s first all-electric bus city by 2025.

Coventry on the road to becoming UK's first all-electric bus city

Credit: West Midlands Combined Authority

West Midlands Combined Authority has announced that a £150 million project to create the UK’s first all-electric bus city by 2025 has taken a major step forward with 50 new greener buses on the streets of Coventry.

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) has been working with Coventry City Council on the scheme and has secured £50 million Department for Transport (DfT) funding to develop charging infrastructure and to top up the investment being made by bus operators in upgrading their fleets with electric vehicles. This will include upgrades such as charge points at bus depots across Coventry and Warwickshire.

The 50 new National Express Coventry double-decker buses are the first of up to 300 new vehicles due to arrive over the next three years under the pollution busting ‘Coventry’s Electric’ programme. National Express has also invested over £60 million, meaning over a third of its Coventry fleet is now electric, with another 80 committed for early 2023.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “As we seek to tackle the climate emergency and maintain our #WM2041 net zero commitment, these British made buses are saving energy, cutting fuel costs for operators and improving our air quality. I cannot wait to see even more electric buses arriving in the next few years, as Coventry becomes a truly all-electric bus city.”

Tom Stables, CEO National Express UK, added: “Our vision is to become the UK’s most sustainable bus and coach company and it’s been great to see this month’s COP27 putting a real focus on how businesses can play their part in addressing climate change. More people using public transport has significant benefits for society including safer roads, increased access to opportunities, reduced congestion, improved air quality and more space in our cities.”

The city already had 10 all-electric buses operated by National Express, so this brings the total number of buses in the city to 60.

Coventry City Council’s new transport strategy to support greener mobility

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Coventry City Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change, said: “Hitting a milestone of 50 new all-electric vehicles is fantastic and the city is really gearing up to creating the right infrastructure for the increase in zero emission vehicles. A quarter of the council’s fleet are now all electric, and we have 607 charging points in the city – more than any other city outside of London.”

The electric bus fleet is just one part of TfWM’s plans with new rail, bus, tram and cycle routes being developed and new technology introduced to support the West Midlands in achieving its #WM2041 target and becoming a net zero carbon region within the next two decades.

Not only will Coventry become the UK’s first all-electric bus city, but TfWM, which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), has committed to a fully zero-emission region by 2030 in its Bus Service Improvement Plan.

Zenobē is providing Electric Transport-as-a-Service (ETaaS) to National Express Coventry with its end-to-end solution. This includes on-board replacement batteries, the charging and grid infrastructure system at the depot, with dedicated rapid chargers and a software platform which helps monitor and optimise energy use, as well as parts and operational support.

The buses produce zero-carbon emissions at the tailpipe and are powered by renewable green energy due to solar panels, and a second-life battery installed at the depot. They take four hours to charge and can run for up to 280km depending on the time of year.

As part of the West Midlands Bus Alliance, National Express Coventry, Stagecoach and other bus operators work closely with TfWM, Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council to provide reliable, affordable and green bus services to residents and visitors across the city.