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Zenobē signs UK’s largest single EV bus fleet transaction

Zenobē previously provided charging infrastructure and batteries for electric buses in Coventry in 2020. Image: Zenobē.

Zenobē previously provided charging infrastructure and batteries for electric buses in Coventry in 2020. Image: Zenobē.

Zenobē has signed a electric transportation as a service (ETaaS) deal with National Express, which will include the provision of electric vehicle (EV) charging.

The company has signed what is said is the UK’s largest single EV bus fleet transaction to provide 130 BYD Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) buses to National Express Coventry.

It is to finance and manage the full turnkey solution, which 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 ETaaS model – which is well-established in other sectors such as rail, aircraft and shipping – provides reliability and flexibility for the operator, Zenobē said.

"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," Steven Meersman, co-founder and director of Zenobē, said

This new deal will see the 130 double-deck e-buses enter service in Coventry from early 2023 as a part of the city’s plans to become the country’s first all-electric bus city. Infrastructure works are to begin in May 2022 to January 2023.

The new deal builds on a previous partnership with National Express, with Zenobē having previously provided charging infrastructure and batteries for electric buses in Coventry and Birmingham in 2020.

It will be financed partly through the partnership between Zenobē and National Express, with additional investment also coming from a £50 million grant from the Department of Transport, which was awarded to the West Midlands Combined Authority for Coventry’s all-electric bus city scheme.

The new deal follows Zenobē establishing a multi-source debt structure of £241 million to fund capital investment into e-buses and charging infrastructure recently, as the company expands its fleet activities in the UK and Ireland.

Zenobē first launched a solution for electric bus operators in 2019, offering financing for charging infrastructure, stationary battery storage located in bus depots for overcoming grid constraints, batteries on the vehicles and the vehicles themselves.

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