Ember raises £11m for network expansion

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Ember started operations using a fleet of Yutong TCe12 coaches between Dundee and, initially, Edinburgh, later expanding to a Dundee-Glasgow route as well. RICHARD WALTER

Ember is pressing ahead with plans to expand its services to reach Aberdeen and to introduce new higher-specification coaches

Scottish inter-city electric coach network operator Ember has raised £11m in Series A funding from Inven Capital, 2150, and AENU, with participation from existing investors Pale Blue Dot and SkyScanner, to grow its network of Scottish coach services.

Founded in 2019, the company, whose shareholders include former Monzo CEO and co-founder Tom Blomfield, will use the funding to accelerate the roll-out of its electric coach services and further develop its bespoke EmberOS operating platform that controls its network by providing timetabling, ticketing, charging, and maintenance orchestration services.

The operator reports that more than 750,000 journeys have already been made on its services, a figure it expects to double over the coming year as the network expands to include Aberdeen and Inverness. Its first batch of new tri-axle Yutong GTe14 coaches has now arrived in the UK, with 563kWh battery capacity and a claimed range of over 500 miles.

Co-founder of Ember Keith Bradbury said: “Travelling by bus or coach doesn’t have to be rubbish. It should be possible to deliver an experience that beats a car – because someone else is doing the driving so you can have your time back – but that requires a relentless focus on the passenger experience. Things like live tracking that actually works, super-simple pricing, easy ticket changes and near-perfect reliability.”

Fellow co-founder Pierce Glennie added: “Under the hood it’s a delightfully complicated problem to solve. EmberOS is the digital twin of our network, and we continue to add layers of data that enable the system to always know what’s going on.

“That means things like real-time vehicle states, current traffic conditions, nearby bus lanes, battery cell temperatures and the health of our chargers. When you put all of that together you can really bring down operational costs and deliver a better experience.”

The company has invested in new Yutong GTe14 electric coaches with a greater range and capacity. JONATHAN WELCH