Two all-electric coaches are to run from next month between Dundee and Edinburgh, delivering the UK's first zero emission intercity coach route
The UK's first 100 per cent electric intercity coach service is set to start carrying passengers between Dundee and Edinburgh next month, 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, the firm said.
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.
The firm 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. Viable UK businesses adversely impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak are eligible for the funding.
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. More details on plans to foster electric bus travel - including a £50m scheme to create England's first 'all-electric bus town' by 2025 - are set to be unveiled in a national bus strategy, which is due to be published this autumn as part of a wave of new climate measures from the government.
Ember was incorporated in June 2019 and aims to use the initial two-coach pilot to prove the current viability of electric coach travel, before opening up further routes in the future, the firm said.
The partnership will see drivers of VW electric cars encouraged to switch their home energy supplier to Octopus Energy's 'time of use' EV tariff
In landmark pledge for climate action President Xi announces China will aim to peak CO2 before 2030 and deliver climate neutrality before 2060
Company to supply 190 turbines for project, each standing at almost 250 metres tall with a capacity of 13GW
Government consults on plan announced in Budget to raise levy on gas suppliers in England, Scotland and Wales to fund biomethane plants