New Flyer Industries (NFI) Group, a leading independent bus and coach manufacturer and a leader in electric mass mobility solutions, subsidiary Alexander Dennis Limited and BYD UK have announced a partnership to supply over 130 battery-electric double-decker buses to electric vehicle (EV) fleet and battery storage specialist Zenobē and National Express.
The deal will see over 130 BYD ADL Enviro400EV electric buses, all manufactured in Britain by ADL in partnership with BYD, enter service in Coventry from early 2023.
This is part of the city’s successful bid to become the country’s first all-electric bus city and take it a huge step closer to replacing around 300 diesel vehicles by 2025.
Zenobē will be providing Electric Transportation as a Service (ETaaS) to National Express.
It will finance and manage the full turnkey solution that includes new BYD ADL vehicles, on-board battery replacement, charging and grid infrastructure, a second-life battery system at the depot, unique software to optimise charging, parts and full operational support.
As part of the agreement, ADL will supply Zenobē and National Express with spare parts for planned preventive maintenance over a period of 16 years from the acceptance of the vehicles.
The work builds on ADL and Zenobē’s existing partnership with National Express, previously providing charging infrastructure and batteries for 29 BYD ADL Enviro400EV electric buses in Coventry and Birmingham in 2020.
The project will be financed partly through the partnership between Zenobē and National Express, with some investment also coming from the £50 million grant from the Department of Transport (DoT), awarded to the West Midlands Combined Authority for Coventry’s all-electric bus city scheme, enabling the public purse to go further.
Paul Davies, ADL president and managing director, said: “As the UK’s leading provider of electric buses, we are delighted to be part of this ETaaS deal with partners Zenobē and National Express.
“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.”
Steven Meersman, Zenobē co-founder and director, said: “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.”
Tom Stables, National Express UK and Germany CEO, said: “This ground-breaking partnership with Zenobē further demonstrates our leadership as National Express takes another significant step towards our fully zero emission bus fleet ambition.
“Through this pioneering new way of working, Zenobē’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.
“Buses are already one of the cleanest ways to travel. National Express is making it even cleaner, cheaper and easier. Our new and existing customers can relax knowing that they are doing their bit for the planet if they leave the car at home and travel by bus.”