First phase of Glasgow electric vehicle (EV) bus depot completed ready for COP26 climate change conference

Phase one of First Bus’s electric vehicle (EV) charging hub in Glasgow, Scotland has ahead of the upcoming COP26 climate change conference. This means that the company’s zero emissions buses can now fully charge at the hub in just four hours.

The Caledonia bus depot features 11 advanced rapid 150kW dual cable charging units. These charges have been installed just ahead of the arrival of 22 new electric buses.

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The direct current (DC) rapid charging units that feature dual cables have been supplied installed and commissioned by Dutch rapid charging business Heliox.

Each charger is controlled via smart charging software to ensure that power is used most efficiently. Work is scheduled to take place across the next 12 months for the completion of the project.

The hub is impressive and can accommodate and charge up to 300 electric buses at the site. It will see the introduction of 150 electric buses over the next year and a half. An additional 69 of these rapid chargers will be installed during the next phase.

It’s good to see Glasgow transitioning to clean zero emissions public transport like many other UK cities. It was announced at the start of the year that Oxford and Coventry would become the UK’s first cities to run only electric buses.

Janette Bell, First Bus UK managing director, said: “Innovative technology and electric infrastructure are key to minimising the UK’s carbon emissions, and so it’s fantastic to see this first step of our vision for the UK’s largest EV bus depot come to fruition.

“Our transition to a zero emission fleet is a bold ambition and, at every stage, First Bus is committed to transforming our business for the good of the environment.”

It’s fitting that First Bus have also been selected to operate the official COP26 delegate shuttle. The company will provide a fast and frequent link for all delegates attending the event between the city centre and the Blue and Green zones on the event campus based at the SSE Hydro and Scottish Exhibition & Conference Centre site.  

The shuttle service will be fully operated by First Glasgow’s brand new fleet of 22 fully electric buses built in Scotland by manufacturer Alexander Dennis Ltd.

The new buses, which were part funded through Transport Scotland’s Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus fund (SULEB), can operate a range of up to 160 miles (257km) on a full charge with zero emissions and will provide delegates with a state-of-the-art new fleet to take them to and from the event.

Graeme Dey, minister for transport said: “I’m really pleased to see Transport Scotland’s SULEB scheme helping to fund this significant order of new electric buses, as part of our commitment to meeting Scotland’s world leading climate change targets and leading a green recovery from the pandemic.

“It’s a real success story that these buses will be manufactured by ADL in Falkirk – supporting jobs in bus manufacturing and benefiting the wider economy before they enter service for communities across Glasgow.”

Duncan Cameron, First Bus in Scotland interim managing director, said: “First Bus Scotland are delighted to have been chosen to operate the official COP26 shuttle service and will be working closely with SPT, Transport Scotland and the Cabinet Office to ensure a smooth and efficient service can be delivered for all delegates attending the event.

“As leaders in sustainable mobility, we are fully aligned with the Government’s ambitions for a net-zero carbon transport system, including zero-emission bus fleets. We have already committed to achieving this by 2035 and we look forward to showcasing this to delegates over the course of the event.”

Ian Osborne
Ian Osborne
Editor-in-Chief at ElectricDrives

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