Coventry has been given the green light to become the UK’s first All Electric Bus City. The development has come after approval from the West Midlands Combined Authority Board released £50m of Department for Transport (DfT) funding.
That money will see every bus in Coventry being electric by 2025. Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) will work with operators serving the city to replace vehicles and install infrastructure. It says that work will include the provision of pantograph charging that “will be available to all bus operators.”
Those operators will pay 25% of the incremental costs of the electric buses and their necessary charging infrastructure. Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council will also be involved in the project although TfWM will lead it.
Some of the buses that are part of the transformation will be used on routes to places including Birmingham, Leicester and Rugby, which TfWM says will spread the benefits of the scheme beyond Coventry’s boundaries.
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street has welcomed the confirmation that Coventry will become the first All Electric Bus City. He says that “a lot of lobbying and persuading” was necessary to convince the government to make its decision.
“This is a great time for bus users in Coventry, with our newly refurbished Pool Meadow bus station and the trial of West Midlands On Demand buses serving the University of Warwick campus, as well as our wider investment in capping and better value fares, bus priority, real-time information and on-board facilities like wi-fi and USB charging.”
routeone is seeking clarification from DfT on the status of Oxford’s bid to also become an All Electric Bus City. In January DfT announced that both it and Coventry could be winners, subject to the submission of successful business cases.
National Express Coventry has already placed 10 battery-electric BYD ADL Enviro400EV double-deckers into service.