130 zero-emission buses added to the streets of Coventry

Andy Street, Alex Jensen and Cllr Jim O’Boyle

A £140m project to crown Coventry as the UK’s first all-electric bus city by 2025 has taken a step forward, as National Express Coventry now operates 130 new double-decker zero-emission all-electric buses.

The Enviro400 buses produce zero carbon emissions at the tailpipe and are powered by renewable ‘green’ energy thanks to solar panels, a second-life battery and charge-point infrastructure, all installed at National Express Coventry’s bus depot by electrification specialist Zenobē.

Built in Falkirk by Alexander Dennis on a BYD chassis, the buses take four hours to charge and can run for up to 175 miles depending on the time of year.

To date, National Express Coventry says its electric buses have operated more than 2.5 million miles since being first introduced in August 2020, saving 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The overall project has been funded by a combination of Government funding and investment from National Express. In 2021 Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), secured £50 from the Department of Transport to ensure every bus in Coventry is zero-emission. Funding was used to replace the city’s bus fleet with zero-emission electric buses along with charging infrastructure.

The latest 130 vehicles are in addition to 10 fully electric double-decker buses introduced by National Express Coventry in 2020, supported by £2.2 million of government funding from the Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme.

With 80 percent of National Express Coventry’s fleet now zero-emission, it marks a significant step forward in Coventry’s mission to promote sustainable transportation and create a healthier environment for the community. It also comes after the completion of 1250 electric vehicle charging sockets in Coventry, contributing to the ongoing improvement of the city’s air quality.

Alex Jensen, CEO of National Express UK & Germany said: “We’re incredibly proud to play our part in making Coventry the UK’s first All-Electric Bus City. By working together with our partners at TfWM, Coventry City Council and Zenobē we have made great progress in creating a greener and more efficient public transport system for our customers”.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA chair, said: “We’re well on our way to making Coventry the UK’s first all-electric bus city by 2025. It’s great news that National Express moved ahead at pace with placing the order – getting these British made buses into service.

“These environmentally friendly buses will help to improve air quality in Coventry and by switching to a modern electric fleet, operators will reduce their energy costs”.

Zenobē, an EV fleet and battery storage specialist, is providing an Electric-Transport-as-a-Service (ETaaS) to National Express Coventry. This includes onboard replacement batteries, the charging and grid infrastructure system at the depot, dedicated rapid chargers, and a software platform which helps monitor and optimise energy use, as well as parts and operational support.

Steven Meersman, co-founder and director of Zenobē, said: “This is an exciting day for this landmark project which shows that with government support, an ambitious operator and the right electrification partner, the switch to zero-emission can happen at scale today.

“Zenobē have been working with National Express since 2019, and we look forward to continuing to de-risk electrification so they can continue to decarbonise whilst providing an excellent passenger experience.”