Get on board with Coventry’s all electric buses

21 September 2023 2:40 PM


Andy Street, Alex Jensen and Cllr Jim O’Boyle celebrate 130 National Express Coventry zero emission buses operating in Coventry as part of the All-Electric Bus City project

A £140 million project to create the UK’s first all-electric bus city by 2025 has taken a major step forward with National Express Coventry, part of Mobico Group, now operating 130 new double-decker zero emission all-electric buses in Coventry.

All 130 Enviro400 electric buses are UK-built in Falkirk by Alexander Dennis on a BYD chassis. The 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. The electric 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’s electric buses have operated over 2.5 million miles since their first introduction in August 2020, saving 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide and contributing towards the achievement of the Council’s objectives to reduce vehicle emissions within the city. 

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 million funding 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.

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, the City Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change, has welcomed the news, he said:

“This is great news. It’s a significant step towards the decarbonisation of the city’s transport network, building on the Council’s investment in a public chargepoint network, and our investment in new cycle routes. 

“I’ve used the new electric buses and they’re very smart, comfortable to ride on, and, most importantly, are good for our environment.”

Alex Jensen, CEO 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.

“As we have some of the cheapest ticket fares in England, alongside flexible ticketing, our customers can have the confidence that they are doing their bit for the planet when they ditch the car and travel by bus.” 

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.

Roads Minister Richard Holden MP, said:

“Backed by our funding, Coventry’s plans to create the UK’s first All-Electric Bus City will help connect communities across the city, helping to grow the economy whilst making bus journeys cleaner with British made buses.”

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.

“Most important of all, local people will now benefit from a quieter, smoother and more comfortable journey experience on these wonderful new buses in the months and years ahead. I look forward to seeing them in action and being a customer myself.”

Zenobē, an EV fleet and battery storage specialist, is providing Electric-Transport-as-a-Service (ETaaS) to National Express Coventry with an end-to-end electrification solution that enables reliability and flexibility. 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.

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.”