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Zenobē Supercharges Electric Bus Plans with New £410 Million Financing Boost

Image Credit: Zenobe

UK-based electric bus fleet and battery storage specialist Zenobē has announced a landmark £410 million financing deal, marking Europe's largest electric bus platform financing. This significant financial boost will propel the company's ambitious fleet electrification and energy storage initiatives across the UK, Europe, and North America.

Zenobē described the financing package, which includes a mix of capital and loans from prominent banks and investors, as a transformative step for its operations. This new deal complements the existing £241 million EV financing platform secured in 2022 and aims to support the deployment of over 2,000 electric buses throughout the UK and Ireland by 2026.

Since 2019, Zenobē has secured over £1 billion in debt financing.

Owning and operating more than a quarter of the UK's electric bus fleet, Zenobē's portfolio exceeds 1,000 EVs globally. The fresh financial backing will fund the expansion of Zenobē's business model, which assists transport operators in transitioning from diesel to electric buses. This includes financing, managed service offers, e-bus leasing, and charging infrastructure at bus depots.

Additionally, Zenobē offers comprehensive battery management services to mitigate battery investment risks for fleet operators. By assuming responsibility for battery performance, replacement, and repurposing in second-life applications, Zenobē ensures a seamless transition to sustainable transport solutions.

Nicholas Beatty, founder and director of Zenobē, hailed the news of the investment as "not just a win for Zenobē but a significant leap forward in the movement towards a clean, low-carbon transportation sector in the UK."

"We are committed to financing and delivering innovative and reliable electric fleet and energy storage solutions for our customers," he added.

Lenders to both Zenobē's existing debt financing and the new support package include a consortium of prominent financial institutions such as Lloyds, MUFG, NatWest, Santander, Scottish Widows, Siemens Bank, and Société Générale. New entrants in the latest financing round feature ABN AMRO, CIBC, NAB, Rabobank, and SMBC Group.

Aviva Investors has played a significant role in this package, contributing £65 million in debt financing. This contribution is divided into two loan portions, provided on behalf of third-party clients and Aviva UK Life. Combined with a previous £50 million debt facility extended by Aviva Investors in 2022, this latest financial support makes Aviva Investors the most significant single lender to Zenobē's EV fleet business.

"As one of the largest investors in UK real estate and infrastructure, we understand the important role of private capital in developing its national infrastructure, particularly projects which support the decarbonisation of transport networks," said Darryl Murphy, managing director of infrastructure debt, Aviva Investors. 

"Although the market for battery electric buses has developed rapidly into a leading zero-emission technology, there is an undersupply of E-buses nationally," he added. "As such, we are pleased to have completed this financing, which will help Zenobē continue its roll-out of EV buses whilst also complementing the UK's own zero-emission schemes and delivering investment returns to UK retirement savers."

Zenobē now claims to support over 75 bus depots worldwide, including Transdev Blazefield's Harrogate depot, where it plans to finance 39 fully electric vehicles and provide a 15-year battery management service.

Earlier this year, Zenobē announced the financing of 24 batteries for Nottingham City Transport's new fleet of fully electric single-deck buses. The company stated that its financing structure enhanced the region's Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) allocations.

Zenobē also boasts 735 MW of battery storage projects either in operation or under construction and claims to support over 1,200 electric vehicles globally. The latest fundraising will enable the company to expand its large-scale battery and fleet electrification projects.

"This transaction represents the natural next phase in the evolution of the e-bus funding platform for Zenobē," said Joe Taylor, head of infrastructure, project, and asset finance at NatWest. 

"The platform was designed to accomodate multiple sources of debt, and this has been achieved via the new facilities that Zenobē has entered into with commercial banks - both existing and new - and institutional funders. The proceeds of this new financing will support Zenobē to drive the decarbonisation of the UK public transport system."


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