By Nick Carey
LONDON – Zenobe has signed an agreement to provide 130 electric buses to public transport group National Express that will see the UK startup provide everything from new vehicles to charging infrastructure, replacement batteries and spare parts.
The buses, made by NFI Group unit Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) with powertrain and motor supplied by BYD Co Ltd, will be run by National Express in the British city of Coventry.
The project will be part financed by Zenobe and National Express, with some funding coming from the UK Department of Transport.
Many countries and municipalities plan to switch to electric buses, but the transition is expensive for local governments. Electric models still make up just a small proportion of the buses on the world’s roads.
Zenobe specialises in battery management on large electric vehicles (EVs) and in “second life” uses such as long-term energy storage once their ability to power those big EVs diminishes.
Steven Meersman, founder of Zenobe, said the startup’s “turnkey” solution is designed to aid transport companies transitioning to EVs by handling charging, providing charging infrastructure and ensuring access to spare parts.
The startup charges a monthly fee for its EV fleet management service.
“We’re taking on more risk on the operational side,” Meersman said. “We’ll guarantee you that the vehicle will always be available or you don’t pay.”