Coventry has successfully bid to become one of the UK’s only two all-electric bus cities.

Coventry and Oxford were selected from 19 towns and cities who applied to be the UK’s first all-electric bus cities – having shown how the scheme could help solve poor air quality.

The project aims to improve air quality, lower greenhouse gas, and reduce the costs of running buses.

Up to £50 million will be invested by the Department for Transport to put an all-electric bus fleet on the streets of Coventry by 2025.

Transport for West Midlands (TfWM), which is part of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA), led the bid with support from Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council.

As well as funding for new vehicles, the grant will also cover investment in wider infrastructure such as charging points and upgrades to the electric grid.

The £50m will be supported by a further £75m of investment from local bus operators into the new electric buses.

The Government, TfWM and local partners will now work to finalise the project details and business case.

The West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) has set a target - #WM2041 - for the West Midlands to be carbon neutral by 2041 and an all-electric city status is another step towards that target.

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs and Regeneration at Coventry City Council, said: “This is excellent news. In the summer I joined the Council Leader George Duggins to see close up some of the first electric buses. They look fantastic, and with no emissions they are much better for the environment”

“We already have excellent partnership working with bus companies like National Express Coventry and together we have been striving to make our public transport network better, greener and cleaner.

“The Council’s local air quality plan is all about embracing new technologies and making improvements that have a long-lasting impact on those that live and work here, and visit the city. That’s exactly what an all-electric bus fleet will help deliver.”

He added: “We already have one of the largest networks of electric vehicle charge points in any city outside London, and other great schemes that feature and promote electric vehicle use. Becoming an all-electric bus city is a fantastic way of helping us to build on this work.”

Published: Thursday, 7th January 2021