A £490,000 loan has helped the company to purchase two all-electric coaches for its first route between Dundee and Edinburgh.
Launching in October, this will be the UK’s first 100% electric intercity coach service and is understood to be one of the first services of its kind in the world. The new coaches, the second of which has been delivered this week, will make the 125-mile roundtrip between Dundee and Edinburgh on a single charge.
The journey is set to take just over 90 minutes one way and will allow residents and tourists to enjoy eco- and user-friendly intercity travel on a route that is currently underserved. Bookings can be made online and travellers will be able to track the bus in real-time using an app on their phones.
The finance from Triodos Bank UK, one of Europe’s leading sustainable banks, is allowing the company to launch with two coaches, rather than one, giving Ember the opportunity to run a more frequent service from launch.
Ember accessed its funding through CBILS, which was set up by the government to provide financial support to SMEs while offering lenders a government-backed guarantee. The company met the necessary criteria in that it is a viable UK business that has been adversely impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak. Ember was expecting delivery of its first vehicle in March, but due to the global pandemic, the delivery was set back by six months as the supply chain was disrupted.
Ember, which was incorporated in June 2019, aims to use this initial two-coach pilot to prove that the technology, operational capacity and demand for electric coach travel is viable. It plans to open up further routes in the future and continue to be a trailblazer in the sector.
The launch has been supported by Dundee City Council from the outset, as part of its mission to decarbonise transport in the city. It has assisted in providing a brand new ultra-fast charging point in the city centre, allowing Ember to charge its coaches efficiently when they are turned around.
Pierce Glennie, co-founder at Ember, said: “Being able to partner with Triodos Bank has given us the confidence to accelerate our plans to provide modern, fully-electric coach services. 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.”
Philip Bazin, environment team manager at Triodos Bank UK, said: “To be a part of such a pioneering project is of great excitement to the bank. Supporting the transition to a low carbon economy is a fundamental objective for us as a lender, and Ember is a brilliant example of an organisation taking advantage of the latest technology to offer customers high-quality, environmentally sound transport options.
“Working with Ember really embodies why we became accredited with CBILS. We knew that we were well placed to offer finance to values-based organisations that had been affected by Covid-19 and the scheme provides us with an opportunity to work with new impactful customers, who may have never crossed our path previously.”
Cllr Mark Flynn, convener of Dundee City Council's city development committee, said: “I am delighted that Dundee should again be chosen by industry pioneers as the place to pilot another first-in-class development in electric vehicle use. The new charging infrastructure recently installed in the city allows their vision of a large passenger-carrying vehicle travelling more than 100 miles on a single charge to become a reality, and I can't wait to see the service up and running later in the year.”
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Notes to editor
Ember is building the future of public transport – fully electric and tech enabled. Ember's first intercity bus route is launching in October 2020 between Dundee and Edinburgh. It will offer passengers an affordable, comfortable and zero-emission option for getting between the two cities. Further route launches across Scotland are expected within the first year. Ember also plans to integrate its network with "final mile" transport – bikes, scooters, taxis and more – to make the whole journey from A to B seamless. Ember was founded in 2019 and is based in Edinburgh.
About Triodos Bank
Founded in 1980, Triodos Bank has become a frontrunner in sustainable banking globally. As an independent bank that promotes responsible and transparent banking, it does not see any conflict between a focus on people and the planet and a good financial return. Instead it believes that they reinforce each other in the long-term.
Triodos Bank has banking activities in the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, Spain and Germany, as well as Investment Management activities based in the Netherlands but active globally. Triodos Bank co-founded the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), a network of 54 sustainable banks. Together these banks want to grow sustainable banking and its impact on the real economy substantially.
Triodos Bank UK Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of Triodos Bank NV. Registered Office: Deanery Road, Bristol, BS1 5AS. Registered in England and Wales Company No. 11379025. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 817008. VAT reg no 793493383.