Travelers have a new option for the 90-minute journey between Edinburgh and Dundee in Scotland. A new service called Ember is operating electric coaches as an alternative to existing diesel-powered bus and rail links between the cities.
Founders Keith Bradbury and Pierce Glennie chose the historic port city of Dundee, Scotland’s fourth-largest, because of the municipal council’s enthusiasm for EVs. Ember uses a heavy-duty charging station which the city installed at a site near the train station.
“This is how you get people out of cars,” said Mr. Bradbury. “Drivers will realise that you can take an electric coach with zero emissions to Edinburgh, you don’t have to pay for parking, and it gives a better prospect for a day out.”
The Chinese-made Yutong coach is surprisingly luxurious, considering that Ember is far less expensive than the fossil-powered alternatives: £7.50 for the one-way trip, compared with £20 on Scotrail diesel trains and £18.60 on a Citylink bus.
The coach is designed to carry 55 passengers, but has been configured with 45 seats for extra comfort. It features reclining leather seats, phone chargers and 5G WiFi. Because of coronavirus concerns, Ember’s coaches are currently operating at half capacity. The lack of engine noise makes it easier to carry on a conversation, even while barreling down the M90. Bookings are made online, but drivers are equipped with iPads that enable them to sell tickets to walk-up customers.
Ember says its Yutong coach costs around £360,000, about one third more than a legacy diesel coach. However, fuel costs are about a quarter of the cost of diesel. “Running costs are much lower, and we can pass that benefit on to customers,” said Glennie. “It allows you to open up routes that wouldn’t be viable with diesel buses,” added Bradbury.
Ember plans to run eight daily services each way, and hopes to add Dundee-Glasgow and Edinburgh-Glasgow routes in the future.
Source: The Independent