Zenobē is partnering with National Express for the UK’s largest single electric bus fleet transaction, providing 130 double-deck buses to Coventry.
Zenobē will be providing Electric Transportation as a Service (ETaaS) to National Express. This model aims to provide reliability and flexibility for the operator, removing the need for the operator to own the electric vehicle fleet and allowing National Express to focus on driving improvements for new and existing customers.
Zenobe says that ETaaS contracts are a well-established model for other sectors, including rail, aircraft and shipping which are now available to e-bus operators. In partnership with National Express, Zenobē will finance and manage the full turnkey solution that includes new vehicles, on-board battery replacement, charging and grid infrastructure, a second life battery system at the depot, software to optimise charging, parts, and full operational support.
This deal will see over 130 double-deck e-buses, manufactured in Britain by Alexander Dennis 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 by 2025.
The contract builds on Zenobē’s existing partnership with National Express, previously providing charging infrastructure and batteries for electric buses in Coventry and Birmingham in 2020. The project will be financed partly through the partnership between Zenobē and National Express, with investment also coming from a £50million grant from the Department for Transport, awarded to the West Midlands Combined Authority for Coventry’s all-electric bus city.
The project will be implemented in phases with infrastructure works beginning in May 2022 to January 2023, and the first vehicle deliveries arriving at Coventry early in 2023.
Steven Meersman, co-founder and director of Zenobē, says:
“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.”
Tom Stables, CEO of National Express UK and Germany, adds:
“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.”