Carbon Battle Bus launched – but trip highlights need for infrastructure improvements

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Ahead of the G7 summit in Cornwall, Lord Redesdale and Conservative Andrew Griffith MP, UK Net Zero Business Champion, inaugurated a ‘Carbon Battle Bus’ at Old Palace Yard in Westminster to mark the start of the Zero Carbon Tour, organised by sustainability certification Planet Mark, and set in motion a series of zero carbon initiatives, including UK businesses showcasing their sustainability journeys. The Tour is set to culminate at COP26 in Glasgow in November.

The organisers said Small Business Britain research shows that 99% of small firms recognise the importance of sustainability but around three quarters of them don’t know how to measure their carbon emissions and need support.

On 10 June, Heart of the City in partnership with the City of London Corporation, hosted the second stop on the Zero Carbon Tour at Guildhall. The event focused on empowering businesses to take the first step in implementing net zero carbon targets and achievable plans.
It was later reported that problems with charging infrastucture left the tour in difficulty in Cornwall, the electric coach reportedly being left with a 46% charge and a range of 60 to 70 miles but no charging points close enough to complete the South West tour from there, highlighting the importance of ensuring that the supporting infrastructure is in place and available for use.

The Westway Coach Services-owned Yutong TCe12 successfully travelled from London to the Eden Project, a distance of 263 miles with one recharge. In order to make the return leg through the South West of England the coach needed to recharge, but it was reported that with only 60 to 70 miles of range left, there were no serviceable chargers in the network on the route.

Steve Malkin, founder and CEO of the Planet Mark, said: “The Carbon Battle Bus has the range and capability to easily make this journey, but the poor state of the UK charging infrastructure means that we only found one charger serviceable on our route from London to Cornwall. When Boris Johnson addressed the G7 today, he called on leaders of the advanced economies to make ‘bigger commitments on… low carbon vehicles…’ To do this he must help bring together central and local government with businesses to connect policy, investment and roll out of zero carbon technologies, like EV charging, and nature-based solutions.”

The Tour team was able to recharge with an Ionity charger using ABB equipment at Cullompton, Devon. However, despite visiting nine other charging sites provided by Ionity, Ecotricity, BP Pulse ChargeMaster, Shell New Motion and Genie, it was reported that none were able to recharge the Battle Bus, despite the information on Zapp Map indicating that the most popular plug type (CCS: Combined Charging System) should have.

“We are on the road to show that zero carbon is immediately possible for every community and organisation in the UK and beyond. We have identified an immediate issue in that only one in 10 charging points charges our coach, and met many EV owners at each stop with the same frustrations. Working together we will find the solutions and continue our journey solving other issues and showing what great work is taking place,” Steve added.