Why did the bus operator cross the road? 2 get ZEBRA funding

March 26, 2024

Nissan has unveiled its ambitious plans (termed The Arc) to boost its EV sales by cutting manufacturing costs by 30%, to (hopefully) achieve EV and ICE vehicle cost parity by FY30. The company also announced it will introduce 16 electric models over the next 3 years, along with launching an EV powered by solid-state batteries in FY28. Bear in mind, compared to Toyota and Honda (domestic peers), Nissan had a fast start in adopting and launching EVs however the rise and adoption of cheaper Chinese EVs has made it hard for Nissan to gain market share. The company hopes The Arc will help it compete with Chinese EV OEMs, such as BYD.

The UK Government has announced it has granted a Development Consent Order (DCO) for the HyNet Northwest CO2 pipeline. The pipeline will transport carbon dioxide for storage in a depleted natural gas field beneath Liverpool Bay, where project developers estimate a storage capacity of 130 million tonnes of CO2. This DCO will bring the HyNet cluster closer to execution, with a final investment decision expected by Q3 24. HyNet is expected to boast a 30TWh per year low-carbon hydrogen production capacity across 4 plants, by 2030.

Regionalverkehr Köln GmbH (RVK), a regional transport company in Cologne, has placed an order with Solaris for 20 hydrogen buses, comprising 11 Urbino 18 hydrogen buses and 9 Urbino 12 hydrogen buses. This is the 4th order placed by RVK with Solaris and brings the total order size to 84, thus far. The Urbino 12 and Urbino 18 hydrogen buses will have fuel cells with powers of 70 kW and 100 kW respectively, with a range of c350km and are pencilled in to be delivered by H1 2025.

CATL has announced it is working on developing faster charging batteries for Tesla, as well as supplying machinery to its Nevada plant. This stems from Tesla announcing it will be launching a $25,000 EV by mid-2025 and it does not want to compromise quality for that price point. Tesla is under pressure to maintain (and expand) its market share, as BYD is hot on its (w)heels. This is an interesting development by Tesla, as it always marketed itself as a premium product with a price point to reflect that. However, a host of Chinese EVs led by BYD has shown that customers place the price of the asset over brand loyalty (to a certain extent). This has led to Tesla announcing a cheaper EV model however it aims to make an EV that is a premium product in that price point range.

EVE Energy, a Chinese manufacturer of EV batteries, has entered into talks to invest £1.2bn to build a new EV battery factory, near Coventry. This would be a massive win for the UK and will form one of the main parts of the planned UK Centre for Electrification, an investment zone in the West Midlands. It would also create up to 6,000 jobs in the region as it would be twice the size of the Nissan EV battery factory in Sunderland. The UK has quietly been fleshing out its domestic EV battery supply chain in the past 12 months, with Nissan and JLR committing however there is still work to be done. EVE Energy is waiting on the UK government to assess what subsidy package it will be given. We champion this and hope the government will provide a lucrative package to the company, as this would be a major win for the domestic EV supply chain.

The UK Department of Transport has announced that it has allocated £143m in ZEBRA 2 funding to 25 successful single or joint bids from local authorities. This will result in 955 buses being funded, with Stagecoach participating in 11 projects to deploy 367 electric buses across England. Go-Ahead did very well in this funding round, as it will deploy 201 zero-emission buses courtesy of ZEBRA2. Go-Ahead will contribute £62m, adding to the £44m from the government and £6m from local authorities. First Bus will make an £89m investment in 178 zero-emission buses in 4 regions, with £16m worth of government funding. Arriva will purchase 72 new electric buses, via bids worked up with Leicestershire County Council, Staffordshire County Council, Transport North East and Tees Valley Combined Authority. ZEBRA1 allocated over £270 million to 16 LTAs and councils and factoring in ZEBRA2 the total government support to roll out zero-emission buses is more than £413m across 41 LTAs.


NX Technologies, a Cologne-based fintech start-up, has raised c£24m in a Series B funding round. This round was led by PayPal Ventures, with Walter Ventures, Seaya Ventures, and Motive Ventures also participating. To recap, currently over 1000 dealerships, in Germany, use the start-up's payment management platform. The capital raised will be deployed to strengthen its domestic market share and to expand into (new) markets in Europe.

Moove, an African mobility fintech, has raised $100m in a Series B funding round, with a valuation of c$750m, led by Uber. The startup, currently, operates in 13 cities, across 6 markets, stretching across, Africa, the Middle East, Europe and Asia and will use the capital to expand into 16 markets by 2025.

Pelikan Mobility, a French EV leasing solution startup, has raised €4m in a Seed round. Interestingly, Pelikan will focus on building out a (new) commercial EV leasing solution that will combine technology and operations. It is looking to bridge EV leasing and fleet operations via its deep tech platform leveraging operational data.

Candela, a Swedish electric boat maker startup, has raised €24.5m in a new funding round. This round was led by Beneteau, with EQT Ventures, Ocean Zero, and Kan Dela AB also participating. This is followed by the recent announcement that it deployed its first P-12 ferry in New Zealand, which will help save c240 tonnes of emissions a year.