With 2030 approaching, sustainability remains an important theme from a social point of view. Also within the touring car industry. Zenobé, an international company specializing in the design, financing, construction and operation of battery solutions, has launched a proposition to help electrify coach operators. In an extensive conversation with TaxiPro, Business Development Manager Rainier van Amersvoort explains how this proposition works.

“We develop, finance, build and operate large-scale battery storage systems”, Van Amersvoort explains Zenobé’s activities. “We mainly do this for public transport, but recently we also do this for the coach sector in the Netherlands. That sector is becoming increasingly interesting for this, given the rapid developments within that market. Batteries can withstand longer and longer distances. For example, there are already buses in production that can travel distances of up to six hundred kilometers on a single battery charge.”

Water-cooled chargers “In addition, the development of the charging infrastructure is progressing very quickly,” continues Van Amersvoort. “We have come a long way with that in the Netherlands. Also regarding fast charging. For example, we are already working on water-cooled chargers, up to one megawatt. With this you can charge your bus for 24 percent within twenty minutes. Within two to three years it will therefore be interesting to drive long distances with an electric bus, to Austria or Italy, for example.”

We must all go to zero-emission for 2030. We have to start on time, otherwise we won’t make it to 2030

Zenobé is mainly engaged in its financing. “We offer lease contracts for the battery, batteries with bus or batteries with bus and charging infrastructure and everything that comes with it, up to and including installation. In addition, we offer dashboard software, so that everything is kept up to date behind the scenes. Both the performance of the bus and the performance of the driver are tracked. In addition, we 24/7 keep an eye on whether there is anything wrong with the buses, so that we can anticipate this in good time. As soon as a collaboration starts, Zenobé fully guarantees the operation of the assets.”

Importance of sustainability The coach sector must become more sustainable, in Van Amersvoort’s opinion. “We all have to go to zero emissions for 2030. We have to start on time, otherwise we won’t make it to 2030. Just for the purchase of such a vehicle, there is a delivery time of 1 to 1.5 years. In addition, you also have to deal with the reinforcement of your network connection. If you have ten coaches and you want to charge all your buses later, you will probably not be able to do that with your current grid connection. If entrepreneurs can do it, they should already apply for an increase in their connection. However, many people are still hesitant about it. If entrepreneurs only apply for this reinforcement in two years’ time, while the grid is already overloaded, major problems will arise. You must already have your weighting, because you will soon no longer have it.”

When asked how Zenobé hopes to further reach the Dutch coach sector, Van Amersvoort replies: “I write to every coach company one by one. If necessary, I want to visit them to explain everything we do in scents and colors. I have already written to about sixty percent of the Dutch coach companies that are affiliated with Royal Dutch Transport (KNV). I have even visited thirty of those companies.”

Despite this reluctance, many entrepreneurs are still open-mouthed at what we do

Reluctant The countless telephone conversations and visits, Rainier van Amersvoort delivered all sorts of kinds of insights. “I notice that everyone is still very reserved. This currently applies to about ninety percent within the sector. There are only a few companies involved in this transition. The investment represents the greatest risk for entrepreneurs. Such a coach, including battery, can easily cost about 01.000 euros. That is almost double that of a diesel bus. This pays for itself within a few years in consumption and maintenance, as well as savings on ‘smart charging’ with Zenobé software. But entrepreneurs must be able to cough it up first. Despite this reluctance, many entrepreneurs are still looking at what we do with their mouths open. So they are definitely interested.”

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