Scottish startup Ember, aiming to build a first-of-its-kind electric intercity bus network in UK, has secured a £5.6m (6.6 million euros) loan from Triodos Bank UK to expand its fleet of zero-emission coaches.

Such money “will allow Ember to purchase 14 new coaches, increasing its total fleet to 38 vehicles, and thereby, significantly reducing carbon emissions. This expansion will enable Ember to offer more passenger trips and extend its route network, a promising step towards a greener future”, the company states.

In March the company announced it had raised $14 million within a Series A round, as reported on TechCrunch.

Ember focus on electric coaches

Ember was founded in 2019 and today counts on a fleet of 24 battery-electric coaches in operation. They have all been provided by Chinese group Yutong through UK dealer Pelican. First route was introduced in late 2020 between Edinburgh and Dundee. Now Ember’s network includes Glasgow, Stirling, and Kinross.

This new loan from Triodos, a long-standing supporter of Ember’s sustainability mission, follows previous support from the bank, including a £490,000 loan under the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) for its first two coaches. Additional funding of £4.7m came through CBILS and the government-backed Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS).

Ember notes the company also received funding from Transport for Scotland through the Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZeb). Since launch, the company has made improvements to its coaches, increasing passenger capacity from 38 to 53 and tripling luggage space, according to Ember. Furthermore, the coaches now offer 5G WiFi and real-time route information via the EmberOS system.

“Triodos have been with us from the very start of Ember and have adapted their approach as we’ve scaled the business, taking a deeper look into our long-term plans and understanding what financial backing they could provide to support each phase,” said Keith Bradbury, Ember’s co-founder.  

“Whilst many banks say they are supporting green projects, Triodos stand out from the crowd with their ability to look at a project’s merits from first principles to understand the true impact it can deliver”, Norrie Cruickshank, senior relationship manager at Triodos Bank, said: “Supporting the transition to a low carbon economy is an important objective for us as a bank, and to work with a pioneering company in the electrification of transport is an ideal fit for us. We’re excited to have the opportunity to provide further support as Ember continues to expand its provision of high quality, affordable zero-emission transport to a greater number of passengers across more locations.”


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