Zenobe’s ‘Electric Transportation as a Service’ offering will supply, support and maintain a fleet of 130 electric double deckers for National Express

Coventry will be the UK’s first zero emission bus city

The UK’s largest ever deal for electric buses incorporates a new funding model that promises to make bus travel “easier, cheaper, and cleaner for all”.

National Express is partnering with Zenobe, the EV fleet and battery storage specialist, for the supply, support and long term maintainence of 130 electric double decker buses. Manufactured in Britain by Alexander Dennis Limited in partnership with BYD, the vehicles will help to make Coventry the UK’s first all-electric bus city. When they enter service from early 2023, they will take National Express’s operation in the city a huge step closer to replacing around 300 diesel vehicles by 2025.

Zenobe will be providing ‘Electric Transportation as a Service’ to National Express. ETaaS contracts are a well-established model for other sectors, including rail, aircraft and shipping. This ‘risk-free availability model’ provides reliability and flexibility for the operator, removing the hassle of owning the electric vehicle fleet. Zenobe claims it will shape the future of bus travel, making it “easier, cheaper, and cleaner for all”.

The work builds on Zenobe’s existing partnership with National Express, which provided charging infrastructure and batteries for electric buses in Coventry and Birmingham in 2020.

In this new partnership with National Express, Zenobe will finance and manage a full turnkey solution that includes new 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. The project will be financed partly through the partnership between Zenobe and National Express, assisted by the £50m Department of Transport grant awarded to the West Midlands Combined Authority for Coventry’s all-electric bus city scheme.

As part of the agreement, ADL will supply Zenobe and National Express with spare parts for planned preventive maintenance (PPM) over a period of 16 years from acceptance of the vehicles.

The project will be implemented in phases with infrastructure works beginning in May 2022 and the first vehicle deliveries arriving in Coventry early in 2023.

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

Steven Meersman, co-founder and director of Zenobe, 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, commented: “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.”

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