Coventry will be the UK’s first city with all-electric buses., Electric Vehicle News Bitesize
Coventry will be the UK’s first city with all-electric buses., Electric Vehicle News Bitesize

Coventry will be the UK’s first city with all-electric buses. Subscribe to Electric Vehicle News Bitesize Podcast for FREE!

A £150m project to create the UK’s first all-electric bus city by 2025 has taken a big step forward, with 50 new, greener buses on the streets of Coventry.

Transport for the West Midlands (TfWM) has partnered with Coventry City Council on the scheme, which has secured £50 million in funding from the Department for Transport.

This includes upgrades such as charging stations at Coventry and Warwickshire bus stations.

National Express’ 50 new double-decker Coventry buses are the first of up to 300 new vehicles to be rolled out over the next three years as part of Coventry’s Electric Green scheme. National Express has also invested more than £60m, meaning more than a third of its Coventry fleet is now electric, with a commitment to add 80 more by early 2023.

Coventry will experience improved air quality and reduced greenhouse gases, and passengers will benefit from a new, comfortable and accessible bus fleet.

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Coventry City Council’s cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change, said: “We put the bid together and convinced the government that Coventry is the right place to become an all-electric bus city.

“Hitting a milestone of 50 new all-electric vehicles is fantastic and the city is really gearing up to creating the right infrastructure for the increase in zero emission vehicles.

“A quarter of the council’s fleet are now all electric, and we have 607 charging points in the city – more than any other city outside of London.

“This is all part of our joint efforts to help lead on the green industrial revolution and cut our carbon footprint. There are a number of partners involved and it highlights the excellent joint working relations between the different organisations involved.

“We are very proud to say that Coventry will be the country’s first all-electric bus city.”

Tom Stables, CEO National Express UK, added: “Our vision is to become the UK’s most sustainable bus and coach company and it’s been great to see this month’s Conference Of the Parties 27 putting a real focus on how businesses can play their part in addressing climate change.

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.

“We’re proud and excited to be leading the way in making Coventry all-electric and are actively recruiting new drivers to join us in the green revolution. Full training is provided and we have recently launched new pay rates of up to £29,500, or more with overtime.”

The city already has 10 all-electric buses operated by National Express, bringing the total number of buses in the city to 60.

A fleet of electric buses is just one part of TfWM’s plans. New rail, bus, tram and cycle routes are being developed and new technology introduced to help the West Midlands achieve its WM2041 goal of becoming carbon neutral within the next two decades.

As part of the West Midlands Bus Alliance, National Express Coventry, Stagecoach and other bus companies work closely with TfWM, Coventry City Council and Warwickshire Council to provide reliable, affordable and environmentally friendly buses for residents and visitors across the city.

Steven Meersman, co-founder and director at Zenobe, said: “We’re delighted to announce that 50 of the 130 new e-buses and charging infrastructure have been delivered and integrated on-time and at pace, and are now out on the roads of Coventry.

“It’s a pleasure to work with innovative partners at Transport for West Midlands and National Express UK to deliver the first Energy Transition as a Service (ETaaS) contract in the electric bus sector, offering a ready to go electric bus fleet backed up by operational guarantees, so they can focus on their fantastic customer service and day to day operations.”

The announcement comes as Chris Skidmore MP visits the region on behalf of the government as part of its national review of the UK’s net zero emissions targets and plans. He heard how the region intends to step up its action on climate change by seeking more power from central government, and met business leaders from leading Black Country companies to discuss their decarbonization challenges.

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Coventry will be the UK’s first city with all-electric buses., Electric Vehicle News Bitesize