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London Tech Week

Scottish startup Ember lands £11M for all-electric intercity buses

Ember team
Picture credits: Ember

Transport accounts for nearly 20% of global CO2 emissions and passenger road transport contributes to almost half of it. Ember, an Edinburgh-based, fully electric, intercity bus company, tackles this challenge by electrifying intercity buses, the most highly utilised vehicles on the road.

Electrifies buses

Ember has raised an £11 million in a Series A financing round, led by Inven Capital, 2150 and AENU. Existing investors in the oversubscribed round include Pale Blue Dot and SkyScanner co-founder Gareth Williams. 

The company will use the funding to accelerate the rollout of its electric bus services and further invest in EmberOS, the platform that controls the network and delivers a game-changing customer experience.

Operates electric bus network

Founded in 2020 in Edinburgh by Keith Bradbury and Pierce Glennie, Ember builds and operates an electric bus network that gives people a zero-emission, convenient and affordable way to get from A to B.

Its buses are said to travel over 250,000 kilometres per year, exceeding the average mileage of even long-distance trucks. The vast distances and large vehicle size mean the emissions saved from electrifying each intercity bus far outweighs other vehicle categories.

The company has developed a highly automated platform, EmberOS, which orchestrates the entire network, from timetabling and ticketing to charging and maintenance. Precision operations allow it to run the world’s highest utilisation electric buses, slashing lifetime costs below the diesel equivalent. 

The company’s aim is to take advantage of the superior margins achieved by optimal use of electric buses and to take cars off the road by offering a dramatically superior and far more climate-friendly travel experience at a lower cost. 

Ember will soon take delivery of the first batch of its next-generation bus, with a 563kWh battery and a range of over 500 kilometres. Also, it is running services 24/7 at an hourly frequency. Each bus covers up to 900 kilometres per day with multiple high-speed charging sessions.

Charging hubs on cards 

Ember has five new charging hubs under parallel development, all modelled on their core hub blueprint. Its Dundee hub is capable of delivering charging speeds of 600kW to a single bus, with a large proportion of the power coming from the 4MW of on-site wind turbines. Future hubs will be co-located with renewables where possible, further reducing energy costs.

Keith Bradbury, co-founder of Ember, 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.”

“Under the hood it’s a delightfully complicated problem to solve,” added Pierce Glennie, co-founder of Ember. “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.”

“Inven Capital is excited to co-lead Ember’s financing round alongside 2150 and AENU, and to join other great existing investors. We have been impressed with both Keith and Pierce as founders and as visionaries of the future of shared transportation. Our commitment to the Company underscores our belief in their customer-centric and innovative approach to electrification and digitalisation across the business. Their decision to fundamentally link their smart infrastructure design, assets and technology platform enables unparalleled optimisation, as well as visibility and data-evidenced insights that gives clean transportation a clear advantage over incumbent solutions. We are excited to be a part of Ember’s mission of revolutionising transportation,” said Daniel Edgerley, Investment Director, Inven Capital.

“At 2150, we love founders that are solving some of the world’s biggest problems. Inter-city travel represents the majority of passenger miles and 90% of those journeys happen in the car so decarbonising this sector has huge sustainability impact. With Ember, Keith and Pierce have developed an innovative, full-stack, electrified bus fleet, using technology to provide superior customer service and fantastic operating margins compared to legacy solutions. We are delighted to be supporting them alongside our friends at Inven Capital and AENU in building the next generation of inter-city transport,” added Rahul Parekh, Partner, 2150. 

“We are thrilled to support them on this journey as we enable a modal shift to greener transportation and expect the technology to power many networks going forward as they grapple with the complexities of electrification at scale,” Siobhan Brewster, Partner, AENU.

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