Coventry and Oxford are both developing proposals to become the first areas of the UK to switch an entire town or city’s bus fleet to electric vehicles.
Subject to the success of the trials, the councils could receive up to £50 million investment each from the Department of Transport, aiming to transition the entire bus fleet to electric by 2025.
Up to 500 buses could be replaced, saving thousands of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, fulfilling councils net zero ambitions and helping the country go greener.
Oxford and Coventry were selected for the trials after 19 towns and cities applied to the all-electric bus competition.
As well as funding to replace the current bus fleet with all-electric vehicles, the grant will also cover the investment in wider infrastructure including charging points and upgraded to the electric grid.
This £50 million funding will further be supported by a £75 million investment from local bus operators into new electric buses.
This project intends to improve air quality, lower greenhouse emissions and optimise running costs of buses.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps commented: ‘As we build back greener from Covid-19, we can provide people with more environmentally-friendly transport and cleaner air.
Coventry and Oxford could soon be at the forefront of our plans for a new era of bus services, helping us develop the green transport network of the future and support jobs right here in the UK.’
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, also added: ‘Turning all of Coventry’s bus fleet electric is not only a major boost to public transport in the city, but it will also help tackle the climate emergency we face both here in the West Midlands and the wider UK.’
In February 2020, government also announced plans for £5 billion funding for a ‘new golden era for buses and active travel’. This will be the UK’s first-ever long-term bus strategy, to be launched in the next few months to ensure buses make for a greener future.