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UK’s first 100% electric intercity coach service boosts fleet

Ember, the UK’s first all-electric intercity bus operator, has increased its fleet of zero emission coaches with a £5.6m loan from Triodos Bank UK.

The transport start-up launched in 2020 with two coaches operating its first route between Dundee and Edinburgh. Today, Ember’s network also includes services to destinations including Glasgow, Stirling and Kinross. The purchase of an additional 14 coaches will take its total fleet to 38 vehicles, helping provide more passenger trips every week and scale its route network further. 

As well as expanding its routes, the company has made significant improvements to its coaches since it first launched, including increasing passenger spaces from 38 to 53 and tripling luggage capacity. Ember’s vehicles now provide 5G WiFi access, while its operating system, EmberOS, offers real-time route information to passengers and onboard temperature controls that ensure passengers are always comfortable. To support its expanding services, the company is increasing its charging capacity by launching multiple new charging hubs around Scotland. 

The loan from Triodos marks the latest support Ember has received from the bank. A £490,000 loan under the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) helped Ember to buy its first two coaches and the bank has since provided £4.7m through the CBILS and the government-backed Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS). 

Norrie Cruickshank, senior relationship manager at Triodos Bank UK, 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.” 

Keith Bradbury, co-founder at Ember, added: “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. 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.” 

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