“We are excited to announce the launch of Flixbus UK’s first 100% electric long-distance bus.” So André Schwämmlein, founder and CEO of Flix-FlixBus made the announcement on LinkedIn.

A novelty with a capital “N” for the green-orange operator, whose pilot e-bus, the first of its kind in England and Wales (while coach operator Ember has already been deploying electric coaches in Scotland since 2020), will travel from London to Bristol and Newport (in South Wales). The test phase will last three months.

FlixBus pilots with e-coaches and projects on H2

FlixBus now has over 60 destinations on its UK network. The group has already piloted electric vehicles in several markets and aims to achieve carbon neutrality throughout Europe by 2040.

Taking a few steps back, in mid-2023 a e-coach was launched in Portugal, also sourced from Yutong. FlixMobility is also taking part in the research project HyFleet together with its partners Freudenberg Fuel Cell e-Power Systems and ZF, with focus on the rollout of hydrogen coaches. A cooperation with German technology group Freudenberg was announced already in late 2019. Ultimate goal? Having hydrogen long-distance buses on the European network by 2024.

However, battery-electric coach pilots are now launched again, after a couple pilots were launched in 2018 – 2019 in France and Germany (the German project was discontinued due to technical issues).

FlixBus – Newport Transport for battery-electric coaches

The zero-emissions electric vehicle will be trialled for three months on FlixBus’ long-distance coach network with operator partner Newport Transport.

FlixBus Yutong TCE12 model will save 352 kilograms of CO2 emissions per day compared to an average diesel-powered bus, and 21 tons of CO2 during the pilot phase, according to statements from Flix. The bus has 46 seats, free Wi-Fi and USB ports, and is PSVAR-compliant for wheelchair passengers.

The electric vehicle has a battery rating of 282kWh, and will be charged at a Transport UK London Bus (formerly known as Abellio) depot in Battersea, London and Newport Transport’s headquarters in South Wales.

With ticket prices starting from just £2.99, the 46-seat vehicle includes a toilet, USB charging points and free wi-fi for all customers as standard on FlixBus services, as well as being PSVAR compliant, supporting travel for passengers in wheelchairs.

Andreas Schorling, Managing Director of FlixBus UK said: “This is a huge step forward for the UK coach sector, transforming the already low-carbon mode of transport to zero-emission at the tailpipe through innovative technology. As the first electric long-distance coach service in England and Wales, we’re sending a powerful message about our continued commitment to bring even more sustainable travel options for the public, and our determination to drive forward the change needed to reduce the impact on the climate.”

David Jenkins, Interim Managing Director from Newport Transport commented: “Flix, as a global leader in travel tech, is the brand with passion and ambition to bring this vision to life, and we are delighted to partner on such a momentous pilot project.Newport Transport has been leading the way in bringing electric vehicles to our network of local bus services in South East Wales and into England and bringing this electric vehicle to the intercity coach market is the next big step.”

Jon Eardley, Managing Director of Transport UK London Bus commented: “We’re delighted to be supporting FlixBus in this project to bring electric vehicles to the long-distance coach market, being charged using our ultra-fast state-of-the-art chargers.”

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