New electric coaches are to start their first runs between Dundee and Edinburgh, delivering the UK’s first zero emission intercity coach route.
The UK’s first electric intercity coach service has been possible after transport start-up Ember secured a £490,000 loan to buy a second all-electric coach for the route.
The two brand-new coaches will make the 125-mile roundtrip on a single charge, with the journey set to take just over 90 minutes one way, Ember said.
The company accessed the funding via the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), which was set up to provide financial support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) while offering lenders a government-backed guarantee.
The initiative has also been supported by Dundee City Council, which has installed a new ultra-fast charging point in the city centre, allowing Ember to charge its coaches efficiently when they are turned around.
“Being able to partner with Triodos Bank has given us the confidence to accelerate our plans to provide modern, fully-electric coach services,” said Pierce Glennie, co-founder at Ember. “Building our technology from the ground up means we are optimising everything around a fully electric fleet, allowing us to offer lower prices and a better service, all with zero emissions. We’re hoping to give passengers a taste of the future and show them that unreliable, shaky coaches are a thing of the past.”
The move sees Ember join a growing number of operators looking to decarbonise UK bus travel.
Earlier this year, National Express announced it is working towards having a fully electric zero-emissions bus fleet by 2030 and coach fleet by 2035. Around the same time, the UK government announced plans to develop a fleet of at least 4,000 zero-emissions buses as part of a £5bn package to boost green travel infrastructure.
The newy-announced financing was provided by Triodos Bank UK and will enable the company to cover the route with two coaches instead of one, offering a more frequent service in the process.