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Hundreds of new electric buses on the way for the West Midlands

Hundreds of new electric buses are on the way for the West Midlands thanks to a £150 million cash injection.

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From left, National Express UK CEO Tom Stables, Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, Transport Minister Richard Holden and David Bradford, managing director, National Express West Midlands

National Express West Midlands is investing the cash in 300 zero-emission buses which are expected to be delivered by the end of December 2024.

The buses will be deployed across the region.

The announcement came as Transport Minister Richard Holden visited Coventry to view progress on the region's plans for a clean and green bus fleet.

National Express has pledged to have a completely zero emission bus fleet in the UK by 2030.

Thanks to the original government investment that kick-started the transition to Zero Emission Buses (ZEB), the Birmingham-based bus operator is now in a position to acquire these buses.

It will mean that over a third of the fleet will be zero emissions – which is the highest proportion of any city region in the country.

Each zero emission vehicle saves an average of 66 tonnes of carbon annually, meaning the investment will save a total of nearly 20,000 tonnes from going out into the atmosphere every year.

Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and West Midlands Comibined Authority (WMCA) chairman, said: “People will now be able to benefit from these wonderful buses here in the Midlands – offering them a quieter, smoother and more comfortable journey.

“As we seek to tackle the climate emergency and maintain our #WM2041 net zero commitment, these British made buses are exactly what we need – saving energy, improving air quality and cutting fuel costs for operators. I cannot wait to see even more electric buses arriving in our region in the months and years ahead.”

Additional investment will be made in infrastructure for charging and maintenance of the fleet across National Express West Midlands’ network of depots.

The electricity to power the electric vehicles will be 100 per cent renewable and zero carbon.

Transport for West Midlands, which is part of the WMCA, and bus operators are making a series of investments which will see some 800 electric and zero-emission buses on the region’s streets by 2026.

Mr Holden said: “Reliable, clean and efficient bus services at a good price are what everyone wants to see from our bus network and I am determined to do everything possible to decarbonise our transport network and support skilled jobs in next generation bus manufacturing across the UK.

“We’ve already invested hundreds of millions of pounds to kick-start the roll-out of zero emission buses nationwide, and it’s great to see National Express introduce hundreds of electric buses here – helping UK manufacturing and driving down emissions and improving bus services for people across the West Midlands.”

Tom Stables, CEO of National Express UK and Germany, said: “This huge green investment shows we are now at the tipping point of electric buses. The initial government support has got the industry going and we are proud to be a major contributor to the green economy in the West Midlands."