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Zenobē signs the UK’s largest electric vehicle bus transaction

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Electric vehicle (EV) fleet and battery storage specialist Zenobē is providing over 130 British-made, double decker e-buses to National Express Coventry.

The partne
rship means Zenobē will provide ‘electric transportation as a service’ (ETaaS) to National Express, reducing the risk for the bus operator by financing and managing the entire turnkey solution. Zenobē will own the fleet and be responsible for the supply of new vehicles, on-board battery replacements, charging and grid infrastructure, a second life battery system at the depot and software to optimise charging.

ETaaS contracts are already commonplace in sectors such as rail, aircraft and shipping but this project is the first example of a turnkey solution for fleet electrification, says Zenobē. The partnership builds on existing agreements with National Express to supply charging infrastructure and electric buses in Coventry and Birmingham in 2020.

Infrastructure works should begin in May and the first new e-buses, manufactured in Britain by Alexander Dennis Limited in partnership with BYD, are expected to enter service in Coventry in early 2023. The project is part of the city’s target to become the UK’s first all-electric bus city by replacing its current fleet of around 300 diesel vehicles by 2025.

While the Zenobē-National Express partnership will finance part of the project, additional investment will come from the Department of Transport’s £50mn grant to the West Midlands Combined Authority.

The DfT finds that transport accounts for 27% of the UK’s total carbon emissions and petrol and diesel cars are major contributors to air pollution, which is responsible for some 40,000 premature deaths each year in the UK, according to the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Commenting on the deal, Steven Meersman, Co-founder and Director of Zenobē, said: ‘By retaining ownership of the vehicles and taking on the risk of switching to zero-emission, we are giving National Express the use of an electric bus fleet without the hassle of owning one, making the transition to a zero-emission fleet more financially desirable.’

Coventry electric vehicle bus
Photo: Stand Agency


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