Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) and BYD UK will supply over 130 zero emission double deck buses to EV fleet and battery storage specialist Zenobē and bus operator National Express, and support these vehicles with spare parts over a period of 16 years. The buses are part of a £140 million project to make Coventry the UK’s first all-electric bus city. The number of vehicles set to debut in the city was already known , now the name of supplier has been public.
ADL BYD to provide 130 double decker e-buses in Coventry
The deal will see over 130 BYD ADL Enviro400EV double deck electric buses, all manufactured in Britain by ADL in partnership with BYD, enter service in Coventry from early 2023 as a part of the city’s successful bid to become the country’s first all-electric bus city and take it a huge step closer to replacing around 300 diesel vehicles by 2025.
Zenobē is a UK market leader in EV fleets and battery storage, with 175MW of operational and contracted storage assets and 394 EV buses or an estimated 25 per cent market share of the UK operational EV bus sector and has recently established a multi-source debt structure of £241 million to radically accelerate the expansion of the EV fleet sector.
In this case Zenobē will be providing Electric Transportation as a Service (ETaaS) to National Express, financing and managing the full turnkey solution that includes new BYD ADL vehicles, on-board battery replacement, charging and grid infrastructure, a second life battery system at the depot, unique software to optimise charging, parts, and full operational support.
Zenobe Energy to finance and manage the e-buses
As part of the agreement, as mentioned above, ADL will supply Zenobē and National Express with spare parts for planned preventive maintenance (PPM) over a period of 16 years from acceptance of the vehicles.
The work builds on ADL and Zenobē’s existing work with National Express, previously providing charging infrastructure and batteries for 29 BYD ADL Enviro400EV electric buses in Coventry and Birmingham in 2020. The project will be financed partly through the partnership between Zenobē and National Express, with some investment also coming from a £50 million grant from the Department of Transport, awarded to the West Midlands Combined Authority for Coventry’s all-electric bus city scheme, enabling the public purse to go further.
An innovative funding model
Paul Davies, ADL President and Managing Director, said: “As the UK’s leading provider of electric buses, we are delighted to be part of this ETaaS deal with partners Zenobē and National Express. This innovative model brings together government funding and business innovation to deliver an affordable way of rolling out zero emission bus fleets at scale.
“The country will further benefit from the choice of 130 British-built vehicles that ensure money is reinvested into the manufacturing sector and local communities, where they support skilled jobs and apprenticeships at our own facilities as well as in our extensive supply chain.”
Frank Thorpe, Managing Director, BYD UK said: “The issue of climate change is one that requires immediate action. We believe that this arrangement is a positive, more viable way forward for many public transport operators to swiftly integrate and transition to zero-emission pure-electric bus solutions. National Express has first-hand experience operating BYD ADL eBuses, which utilise BYD’s pioneering battery and integrated electronic technology. With a longstanding knowledge of the UK market, BYD is especially proud to be involved in this project, which is setting a precedent for a new way of accelerating and financing eMobility for a better, greener world.”
Making transition more financially desirable
Steven Meersman, Co-founder and Director of Zenobē, said: “This really is a globally important deal. We are incredibly excited to be leading the way for the electric bus industry, with ETaaS revolutionising the way fleets are electrified. 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. We’re excited to use our new model to help many more operators and local authorities across the UK – and the world – transition to electric, and ultimately accelerate progress towards net zero and clean air.”
Tom Stables, CEO of National Express UK and Germany, said: “This ground-breaking partnership with Zenobe further demonstrates our leadership as National Express takes another significant step towards our fully zero emission bus fleet ambition. Through this pioneering new way of working, Zenobe’s innovative solution provides us with the reliability and flexibility we need to accelerate the roll-out of our greener, cleaner vehicles, while we focus on delivering an excellent service for the people of Coventry. Buses are already one of the cleanest ways to travel. National Express is making it even cleaner, cheaper and easier, so our new and existing customers can relax knowing that they are doing their bit for the planet if they leave the car at home and travel by bus.”