UK’s first all-electric intercity coach gets £5.6m boost

Written by Lori Campbell on 26th Jun 2024

All-electric bus operator Ember has received a 5.6 million funding boost from Triodos Bank UK to expand its fleet of zero emission coaches.

The funding will allow Ember to buy 14 new coaches, taking its total fleet to 38 vehicles and allowing it to “provide more passenger trips every week and scale its route network further.”

Since launching in 2020 with two electric coaches operating on its first route between Dundee and Edinburgh, Ember’s network now includes services to a range of destinations in Scotland including Glasgow, Stirling, and Kinross.

The company said it is also increasing its charging capacity by launching multiple new charging hubs around Scotland to support its expansion plans.

The new loan from Triodos – a Good With Money ‘Good Egg’ company – marks the latest support the electric coach company has received from the sustainability-focused bank. A loan of £490,000 under the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) helped it to buy its first two coaches, the company said.

The bank has since provided £4.7 million through the CBILS and government-backed Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS).

Alongside the loan from Triodos Bank, Ember has also received funding from Transport for Scotland through its Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZeb).

The firm said it has made “significant improvements” to its coaches since it first launched, including increased passenger spaces from 38 to 53 and tripling its luggage capacity.

Its coaches also now provide 5G WiFi access and its operating system – EmberOS – offers real-time route information to passengers onboard.

“Triodos have been with us from the very start of Ember and have adapted their approach as we’ve scaled the business, taking a deeper look into our long-term plans, and understanding what financial backing they could provide to support each phase,” said Keith Bradbury, Ember’s co-founder.

“Whilst many banks say they are supporting green projects, Triodos stand out from the crowd with their ability to look at a project’s merits from first principles to understand the true impact it can deliver.”

Norrie Cruickshank, senior relationship manager at Triodos Bank, said: “Supporting the transition to a low carbon economy is an important objective for us as a bank and to work with a pioneering company in the electrification of transport is an ideal fit for us.

We’re excited to have the opportunity to provide further support as Ember continues to expand its provision of high quality, affordable zero-emission transport to a greater number of passengers across more locations.”

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