BYD ADL Enviro400EV for National Express Coventry

Alexander Dennis (ADL) and BYD have confirmed that their partnership is to supply 130 zero-emission double-deck buses to National Express and Zenobe in Coventry as part of the city’s successful bid to become the country’s first all-electric bus city.

The buses will enter service in early 2023 and will be supported with parts for a period of 16 years from acceptance.

Zenobe will provide a model it calls Electric Transportation as a Service (ETaaS) to National Express, whereby it will retain ownership of the vehicles, financing and managing the full turnkey solution that includes the vehicles, on-board battery replacement, charging and grid infrastructure, a second life battery system at the depot, the software which will optimise charging, parts, and operation support.

As well as being part-financed through the partnership, the Department for Transport has awarded £50m to the West Midlands Combined Authority for the project.

“As the UK’s leading provider of electric buses, we are delighted to be part of this ETaaS deal with partners Zenobe and National Express,” says Paul Davies, ADL President and Managing Director. “This innovative model brings together government funding and business innovation to deliver an affordable way of rolling out zero-emission bus fleets at scale.

“The country will further benefit from the choice of 130 British-built vehicles that ensure money is reinvested into the manufacturing sector and local communities, where they support skilled jobs and apprenticeships at our own facilities as well as in our extensive supply chain.”

Adds Frank Thorpe, Managing Director, BYD UK: “We believe that this arrangement is a positive, more viable way forward for many public transport operators to swiftly integrate and transition to zero-emission pure-electric bus solutions. National Express has first-hand experience operating BYD ADL eBuses, which utilise BYD’s pioneering battery and integrated electronic technology.

“With a longstanding knowledge of the UK market, BYD is especially proud to be involved in this project, which is setting a precedent for a new way of accelerating and financing eMobility for a better, greener world.”

ADL and Zenobe previous worked with National Express to provide charging infrastructure and batteries for 29 BYD ADL Enviro400EV battery-electric buses in Coventry and Birmingham in 2020. The latest move will serve to push forward the replacement of around 300 diesel vehicles by 2025.

“This ground-breaking partnership with Zenobe further demonstrates our leadership as National Express takes another significant step towards our fully zero-emission bus fleet ambition,” says Tom Stables, CEO of National Express UK and Germany. “Through this pioneering new way of working, Zenobe’s innovative solution provides us with the reliability and flexibility we need to accelerate the roll-out of our greener, cleaner vehicles, while we focus on delivering an excellent service for the people of Coventry.”

Adds Steven Meersman, Co-founder and Director of Zenobe: “This really is a globally important deal. We are incredibly excited to be leading the way for the electric bus industry, with ETaaS revolutionising the way fleets are electrified.

“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.

“We’re excited to use our new model to help many more operators and local authorities across the UK – and the world – transition to electric, and ultimately accelerate progress towards net zero and clean air.”