The joint venture company is called Wave Industries and the first output will be the 300 Series electric bus, to be launched at the Euro Bus Expo 2020 at the NEC in Birmingham in November. Production of an initial 300 vehicles will start in Coventry early next year, which will reach up to 800 buses annually by 2025, when 600 jobs will have been created.

Caption: Back, from the left, Thomas Ashton (CAA), West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, Sergei Aleinik (Ambassador of the Republic of Belarus), Craig Humphrey (CWLEP Growth Hub) and Dmitry Sudas (Embassy of Belarus). Front, from the left, Sergey Chistov (BKM Holding) and Martyn Wheeler (Wave Industries)

The two businesses are also collaborating on a hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric delivery van, which is due to be launched in the UK late next year.

Martyn Wheeler, CEO of Wave Industries, says: “Our aim is to be a world leader in the development and manufacture of fully-integrated zero-emissions vehicles and transport systems.

“We are bringing together the heritage, expertise, skills base and research and design excellence of our business with the proven electric vehicle technology experience of Belarus.

“As well as creating 600 new jobs, there will a tremendous amount of intellectual property rights and research and design work included in the joint venture.

“We will export the electric vehicles to Commonwealth countries and talks are already underway to supply the electric buses to Egypt and Nigeria. We are actively seeking a UK retailer or logistics partner to collaborate with us in the development of the commercial van.

“We won’t just be bringing buses and vans to the UK but the complete design and installation of transport infrastructure systems.”

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “From major production plants to research facilities, the West Midlands is the UK’s automotive heartland. And as we move towards state-of-the-art electric and autonomous technology, I want our region to become the global leader in this sector.”

Craig Humphrey, of the CWLEP Growth Hub, observed: “It will be the first time buses have been manufactured in Coventry since Daimler stopped its production in 1973 and this is extremely exciting news for our region and the UK.”