28th Jun, 2022

Coventry a step closer to becoming UK's first All Electric Bus City with 130 zero-emission double-deckers on the way

COVENTRY has taken another step closer to becoming the UK’s first all-electric bus city.

A fleet of 130 zero-emissions double deckers will be introduced next year as part of the £140million project.

National Express (NX) Coventry has ordered the brand new British built buses which will enter service early in 2023, helping improve air quality and reducing carbon emissions in the city.

Last year Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), secured £50million funding from the Department of Transport to ensure every bus in Coventry is zero-emission.

David Bradford (M.D), Mayor Andy Street, Agata Litwinowicz-Soltysiak (Zero Emissions Operational Manager) and Coun. Jim O’Boyle. Picture by Marcus Mingins 0322007MMR1 copyright Bullivant Media

Now under a deal with TfWM, NX Coventry is making an additional multi-million pound investment into the all electric bus city project with the purchase of the 130 new buses. The company is set to order further buses at a later date.

Similar agreements with other bus companies and those running subsidised services are likely to follow, with the aim of putting up to 300 electric buses on the streets of Coventry, guaranteeing an all-electric fleet by 2025.

In addition to new vehicles, TfWM is also working with Coventry City Council to create the necessary charging infrastructure to power the new buses. This will include upgrades to bus depots and charging points at Pool Meadow Bus Station.

National Express Coventry has been operating 10 fully electric buses across the city since the summer of 2020 – the £2.2million funding for those came from the Government’s Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme.

Each of the 10 buses can charge up in four hours and can run for 137miles in the winter and 174miles in the summer before they need to be charged again.

The bus company’s depot near Pool Meadow Bus Station has solar panels which harvest renewable energy during the day and help to recharge the electric buses overnight. Each electric bus has its own charging station.

Coventry depot engineers can monitor the buses’ performance in real-time on an app on their phones.

Drivers have to be specially trained to drive electric buses because they behave differently to combustion engine-driven vehicles.

The drivers learn to preserve the charge for as long as possible and extend the range of the vehicle.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “It really is incredibly exciting to think next year we will have 130 all-electric buses on the streets of Coventry thanks to the deal we have signed with National Express.

“These clean and green double decker buses will not only be fantastic for passengers with their comfort and state-of-the-art technology, but it will also help in reducing air pollution and tackling the climate emergency.”

Roads Minister Baroness Vere added: “As we continue working to decarbonise our transport network, I’m delighted part of our £50m investment is funding one of the largest orders of electric buses the country has seen.

“This money will help revolutionise Coventry’s bus services, providing cleaner ways of getting around, better air quality and reduced carbon emissions as we look towards a net zero future.”

New and existing bus users will enjoy a smoother, greener, more inclusive transport experience with improvements in accessibility, as well as better comfort and information while on the move.

David Bradford, managing director of National Express Bus, said everyone was really looking forward to having 130 more electric buses, adding the ten existing ones had already driven more than 850,000 miles and saved 1,400tonnes of carbon dioxide from going out into the atmosphere.

Coun Jim O’Boyle, Coventry City Council’s cabinet member for jobs, regeneration and climate change, said it was fantastic for local people, for business in the city and for the efforts to lead in the green green industrial revolution and cut our carbon footprint.

“We already have a range of schemes to improve air quality, including the highest number of electric charging points per head of population outside London, and this will help exceed our carbon reduction targets.

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

Investment in green and clean transport is a key part of plans to achieve the #WM2041 target for a zero-carbon region.

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