The Scottish Government has launched the first £50 million phase of a new Scottish Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZEB).
The fund replaces previous funding streams and is designed to encourage the market to agree and implement new ways to finance zero emission buses, said Transport Scotland.
The fund builds on the success of the Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme, it said, and supports ambitions to decarbonise the bus fleet.
ScotZEB was unveiled by transport minister Graeme Dey at the Bus Decarbonisation Taskforce, which brings together senior leaders from the energy, bus and finance sectors to co-design a pathway to a fully decarbonised bus fleet.
Dey said: “To accelerate progress towards a zero-emission bus fleet, we committed to convene a meeting of the Bus Decarbonisation Taskforce within our first 100 days.
“The Scottish Government has come to the table with an evolved offer for zero emission bus funding – building on the experience of previous schemes and designed in a way that maximises opportunities to attract sustainable financing and encourage innovative ways of doing so.
“£50 million is available in 2021 to help drive a green recovery, responding to the global climate emergency and to improve air quality. I’m excited to see results from the ScotZEB Challenge Fund and expect to offer a larger pot of funding in 2022 once it demonstrates its success.”
Work recently began by First Bus to turn its Glasgow Caledonia bus depot into an electric vehicle (EV) charging hub.
Steven Meersman, co-founder and director of the EV fleet solutions provider, Zenobe, said: “We’re incredibly proud to be part of Scotland’s net zero journey, helping to make sustainable, green transport accessible and affordable.
“The Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme has already facilitated pioneering zero emissions transport projects in Dundee and Glasgow, highlighting what’s possible when there is strong collaboration between bus operators, government and business.
“We look forward to the ScotZEB scheme building on this success to further accelerate the update of zero emission electric buses.”