Start-up operator Ember will introduce two battery-electric Yutong TCe12 coaches to a scheduled route between Dundee and Edinburgh on 1 October. It will be the UK’s first zero-emission scheduled coach service.
The operator worked with Triodos Bank to secure £490,000 of funding towards the purchase costs of the two coaches through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan scheme. That finance will allow Ember to launch the service with two TCe12s rather than one, the operator says.
Ember aims to use the initial two-coach pilot to prove that electric coaches are viable for scheduled work. It plans to open further routes within Scotland during its first year. The network is set to be integrated with ‘last mile’ options including bikes, scooters and taxis.
Dundee City Council has assisted the launch by providing an ultra-fast charging point in the city. That will allow the coaches’ batteries to be replenished during turn-round times.
Says Ember co-founder Pierce Glennie: “Being able to partner with Triodos Bank has given us the confidence to accelerate our plans to provide modern, electric coach services. Building our technology from the ground up means that we are optimising everything around a fully electric fleet. That allows us to offer lower prices and a better service, all with zero emissions.”
Ember’s website shows that up to eight round trips per day will operate. That equates to an average daily in-service mileage of 500 per coach.
The service will also stop in Inchture, Perth, Kinross and Rosyth. One-way journey time between Dundee and Edinburgh will be around 90min.
In August, Yutong supplier Pelican Bus and Coach gained Ultra Low Emission Bus certification for the TCe12. It is the first coach to achieve such accreditation. Thanks to that, the TCe12 is eligible to receive the 30p per kilometre BSOG Low Emission Vehicle incentive payment in Scotland when used on qualifying work.