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Welcome to Ember, our new member

Published 18 January 2022 by Keith Bradbury

In each newsletter we highlight the work of one of our members. This edition we are delighted to include a piece from one of our newest members at Transform, Ember.

A few years ago Pierce and I were discussing net zero targets and we were focused on the general theme of how electric vehicles could help countries achieve their 2050 (or sooner) targets.

We looked at lots of different angles to this problem but we kept coming back to the idea that it made the most sense to use electric vehicles on the most intensively run routes. If you want to reduce transport emissions then surely you would start with the areas that emit the most “concentrated” emissions. But that wasn’t what we could see happening around us.

There has been a surge in electric cars but cars are just so low mileage. A typical car will only do about 7,000 miles a year.. Plus replacing cars on a 1 for 1 basis won’t alleviate all the traffic woes that many people face every day.

So we started to do some research.. Was it possible to use an electric bus to do nearly 200,000 miles per year whilst doing multiple ultra rapid charges per day? What would happen in winter? What would happen to the batteries? The basic answer we got from everyone was “we don’t know – no one has done it before”. And so that’s when we decided to launch Ember.

When people discuss EV’s they typically mention things like range anxiety, lack of charging infrastructure, and cold weather issues. They will inevitably have an anecdote about a time they were driving along with the heating/lights/radio off because they didn’t want to run out of charge. But all of this is solvable if you take the right approach and organise your entire business around being electric. So that’s just what we did!

We’ve now been running for a little over a year. In our first year our vehicles did nearly 190,000 miles each. To give you an idea of scale, in 2020 the entire ChargePlace Scotland network, comprising of 1,800 chargers, delivered 780,000 charging sessions and just over 10 million kWh of electricity. Our single charger in Dundee which supports just 2 buses running between Dundee and Edinburgh provided over 0.5 million kWh of electricity over a 12 month period. That’s what we mean by “concentrated” emissions and high utilisation.

By choosing to take public transport, our passengers are not only saving money, they are making a conscious choice to reduce their carbon footprint and to remove some traffic from the roads. It also helps that we offer real live tracking, live timing updates on trips, no hassle refunds and cancellations (even if you just miss the bus!), and we guarantee no grumpy drivers!

In 2022 we’ll be launching more vehicles and more routes across Scotland. Hopefully more people will be able to enjoy zero emission intercity buses and help us get that bit closer to a zero emission, zero traffic future.

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