First double decker electric bus fleet launched by National Express and Zenobe Energy in Birmingham

First double decker electric bus fleet launched by National Express and Zenobe Energy in Birmingham

Transport operator National Express Group and Zenobe Energy, a leading UK owner and operator of battery storage, announce the launch of an electric fleet of double decker buses for commuters and residents who use the number 6 bus in Yardley Wood, Birmingham. The first users have now completed the route, helping to improve air quality in areas across south Birmingham. The project brings a total of 19 double decker electric buses to the area.

National Express Group, which pledged to transition to a fully zero-emission UK bus fleet by 2030, is piloting this first electric fleet in its home city of Birmingham. This will help further Birmingham’s commitment to become a net-zero city by 2030.

Zenobe powers 25% of the EV bus market in the UK. For National Express West Midlands, Zenobe supplied an end-to-end solution including batteries, the charging system at the depot and a software platform to help optimise energy use. It’s the first example of a turnkey solution for fleet electrification.

National Express operates bus, coach and train services across the UK, Europe and the United States. In Birmingham, National Express is bringing Zenobe-powered buses onto the bus route 6 (from Carrs Lane in Birmingham city centre to Solihull town centre). The brand-new double decker buses are manufactured by Alexander Dennis Ltd (ADL) and BYD Europe.

Birmingham’s air pollution, widely regarded as a public health crisis, contributes to 900 premature deaths a year. In February the city announced a clean air charge from early 2021 to transition to net-zero emissions and improve air quality for residents.

With the cars being one of the largest contributors of CO2 and NOx emissions, there is an urgent need to address the causes of poor air quality through the adaption of cleaner public transport alternatives. Zenobe and National Express’s partnership supports the city’s commitment to improving Birmingham’s air quality by helping accelerate the rollout of zero-emission vehicles.

In May 2019, Zenobe announced its £120 million partnership funding for fleet operators to help boost available funding and bring electric vehicles to cities and towns across the UK. The operator’s first charging project, which brought 9 electric buses to Guildford, in partnership with Surrey County Council and Stagecoach, recently celebrated its first anniversary. Zenobe-powered buses already operate on the roads in Newport, will launch in Leeds in the coming months. Other project announcements are expected to follow throughout the year.

Steven Meersman, co-founder of Zenobe Energy, said:

“We are delighted to see our partnership with National Express help improve air quality in Birmingham, our partner’s home city. Our solution is helping Birmingham and National Express meet net-zero commitments, reduce pollution and ultimately save lives.”

“Our service-based model means we’re there for our partners throughout the journey, not just on day one. During an uncertain period, we hope our work alongside transport operators can help ensure that the UK continues working towards a cleaner, greener future.”

Martin Hancock, National Express Bus, Development Director, said:

“In our ambition to become the UK’s most sustainable bus company, National Express West Midlands has set itself the bold target of having a fully zero emission fleet by 2030. To achieve this in such a timescale, we need to be innovative. It’s absolutely critical that we deliver for our customers. We need a reliable solution so we know our buses will start in the morning – every morning. So we are very pleased to be partnering with Zenobe in our electrification of our bus depot.”

“By collaborating with Zenobe, we have been able to utilise a professional turnkey solution that has clearly demonstrated their position as a market leader in the field of battery supported charging infrastructure.”