National Express West Midlands introduced its first electric double-deckers to service on 5 July after several months delay occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic. The 19 BYD-ADL Enviro 400EV vehicles now operate the 6 service between Birmingham City Centre and Solihull Town Centre that traverses the city’s heavily congested Stratford Road as well as entering the delayed Birmingham Clean Air Zone. Investment in the vehicles was facilitated by an award in 2017 of funding from the 2015 Low Emission Bus Scheme that also provided for the installation of charging facilities at NXWM’s Yardley Wood depot.
A further ten vehicles are currently being delivered to Coventry depot with funding from the 2018 Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme, marking the next stage in National Express’s February 2020 pledge not to purchase another diesel bus following the arrival of the last of nearly 400 Euro6 ADL Enviro 400MMC vehicles. The electric buses feature the first Enviro 400 City style bodies in the National Express fleet but lack the glazed staircase side panels and centre doorway of the London version. Their entry to service takes the total of BYD ADL Enviro 400EVs on the UK roads to over 100.
Tom Stables, Managing Director of National Express UK, said: “At National Express, zero-emission is not the future – it’s the here-and-now.
“Earlier this year, we announced that National Express had bought its last diesel. Our bus fleet will be zero emission by 2030, and our white coach fleet by 2035.
“Buses are already one of the cleanest ways to travel. For four years, we’ve been working as part of the West Midlands Bus Alliance to tackle climate change and improve air quality. We’ve retrofitted nearly a thousand older buses with new exhaust systems, and since 2015, we’ve bought only the cleanest diesels on the market.
“And now we’ve gone all out with these beautiful buses which are fully electric – even the heaters run off the battery. They cost more than a Rolls Royce Phantom, and as well as being great for the environment, they come with all the top-spec kit our customers expect from a Platinum bus – extra space, USB chargers and free wifi.
“We’re very proud that National Express is bringing fully electric buses to the people of the West Midlands. I’d like to thank all the drivers, trainers, engineers and managers who have worked so hard behind the scenes to make this happen.”