Coventry and Oxford set for All Electric Bus Town triumph

All Electric Bus Town winners announced

Coventry and Oxford are set to be victorious in the Department for Transport (DfT) All Electric Bus Town competition.

Subject to the submission of successful business cases, each area could be awarded up to £50m to replace what DfT describes as “their entire fleets” of buses with battery-electric models. The money will also go towards infrastructure and supply upgrades.

19 bids were received from towns and cities across England. DfT will now work with local authorities in Coventry and Oxford to finalise their respective business cases “over the coming weeks.” Preparation of those business cases has already begun.

Leaders in both Coventry and Oxford have welcomed the news that the two areas are set to be victorious in the All Electric Bus Town competition.

Says Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street: “This news is brilliant for Coventry and the West Midlands. Turning all of Coventry’s bus fleet electric is not only a major boost to public transport in the city, but it will also help to tackle the climate emergency that we face both in the West Midlands and in the wider UK.”

Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) Leader Cllr Ian Hudspeth says the bid there comes at a time when OCC is “determined to take concerted climate action” that will involve “the expansion of bus service provision in Oxford.”

As part of their entries, the 19 applicants were required to:

  • Demonstrate buy-in from local stakeholders
  • Outline existing plans to reduce greenhouse gases and improve air quality
  • Show how their plan would tackle and existing air quality problem.

In August 2020, National Express Coventry placed 10 battery-electric BYD ADL Enviro400EV double-deckers into service. National Express West Midlands earlier introduced 19 of the same model in Birmingham. To the end of 2020, those 29 buses reduced carbon dioxide emissions by over 700 tonnes.

In June 2020, Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps told the Transport Committee that a Hydrogen Bus Town project will follow the All Electric Bus Town work. That development came after the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hydrogen wrote to Mr Shapps in May 2020 asking that he make £50m available to the then-proposed scheme.