The first electric buses in Wales are in operation in Newport in a step that has promised to massively improve air quality in the city.
Newport Transport are operating the fleet of 15 new buses on routes across Newport, including the 29 route to Cwmbran via the brand new Grange University Hospital.
Newport Transport has been working in partnership with Zenobe Energy on bus battery systems and charging stations in order to effectively introduce the electric buses as part of its fleet.
Seven of the 15 Yutong buses will be dedicated to the three routes between Newport, Caerleon and Cwmbran, including picking up the staff and patients at the new specialist critical care centre at the Grange hospital.
The zero-emission vehicles will also be passing through two zones in the city with poor air quality.
Scott Pearson, Managing Director at Newport Transport said: “Newport Transport is pleased to provide our customers with an important cleaner choice of public transport now and for the future.
"This is a massive step forward for the company. Delivering such an innovative scheme, during a pandemic, with a strategic vision beyond these trying times is absolutely key to reducing our environmental impact, thus doing what we can to slow climate change.
"We are determined to lead the way in Wales and demonstrate what can be done.”
As the national government and Welsh Assembly drive towards a 2028 zero emission bus target in Wales and following promises to bring ‘Clean Air Zones’ to Welsh towns and cities, the fleet highlights a milestone for Newport Transport in reaching this target.
Much of Wales, including Newport, is currently in local lockdown due to Covid-19. With high infection rates being linked to poor air quality, the zero-emission vehicles will bring desperately needed sustainable services to the area, particularly passing through two zones in the city with poor air quality.
Zenobe, which powers 25% of the EV bus market in the UK, is providing Newport Transport with its end-to-end solution, including financing for batteries, the charging system at the depot with nine dedicated rapid chargers, and a software platform that helps monitor and optimise energy use.
Steven Meersman, a co-founder of Zenobe Energy, said:
“We are delighted to see our partnership with Newport Transport drive the improvement of air quality in Newport, leading the way for Wales. Our solutions are helping the UK meet its net-zero commitments, reducing pollution and ultimately helping to save lives. We’re passionate about ensuring that people in Wales’s towns, cities and villages can travel in a safe, sustainable way, on a mode of transport which is a lifeline to so many.
“Our service-based model means we’re there for our partners throughout their whole journey, not just on day one. During these unprecedented times, we hope our work alongside transport operators will make sure the UK continues working towards a cleaner, greener future, and ensuring the public can get to where they want to be.”