Smart Transport

First Bus to turn Glasgow depot into EV charging hub

Work has begun by First Bus to turn its Glasgow Caledonia bus depot into an electric vehicle (EV) charging hub.

With phased completion scheduled across the next 18 months, the redeveloped Caledonia depot, will have space to charge up to 300 EV buses on site.

The first phase of the project, now underway, will see 11 dual DC rapid charging units installed.

Phase one of the depot transformation is expected to be complete by September this year, allowing for the introduction of a further 22 electric buses to Glasgow’s streets ahead of COP26, the United Nations Climate Change conference.

Phase two of the project is scheduled to start later this summer and will see a further 69 dual-headed DC charging units installed over a 6-month period, increasing the number of chargers on the site to 162.

The plans form part of transport operator’s sustainable travel agenda and follows its pledge to only invest in low and zero-emission vehicles from December 2022, with a 100% zero-emission fleet by 2035.

First Bus said the transformation has been made possible in part due to being awarded a further £24.3m in a successful bid in the second round of the Scottish Ultra Low Bus Scheme (SULEB).

Janette Bell, managing director at First Bus UK, said: "We are proud to be announcing the UK’s largest EV charging infrastructure as part of our transition to a zero-emission fleet. 

“We are making excellent progress on our commitments to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions in our communities.

"By improving the air quality in the areas, we operate within, we are supporting the health of our customers, and by cutting carbon emissions we are putting our weight behind Scotland’s ambitious plans for tackling the global threat of climate change.

“Launching this project at Caledonia depot, the largest of its kind, is a very exciting next step and reinforces that both First Bus and our stakeholders are making continued investment in the future of bus.”

Progressing toward a zero-emission fleet

First Bus said its long-term objective is to ensure that the site is fully prepared for the transition to net zero operations. This includes further opportunities for on-site renewable energy, storage technologies and renewable energy utility supply.

Andrew Jarvis, portfolio managing director responsible for First’s operating companies in the devolved nations, including First Scotland said: “This is an ambitious and exciting plan that will have positive implications for the entire city of Glasgow.

“We’re thrilled that Transport Scotland understood our vision from the very beginning and that we are starting work on this large-scale project that will help us move closer towards a zero-emission fleet.

“Over the coming months we will take delivery of 22 ADL/BYD EV buses from Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) in Falkirk, with a further 126 buses delivered and in service over 2021 and 2022, with the order complete by spring 2023.”

First Bus’s power solutions partner for the project is Dutch company Heliox.

Heliox has previously worked on EV transformation projects at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, Wiesbaden’s Gartenfeldstraβe depot in Germany, and electric bus charging network in Oslo, Norway.

First Bus is adopting Heliox’s 150kW modular rapid charging solution, that can charge any type of EV, extending usage beyond the immediate bus fleet, said First Bus.

Heliox’s smart bus charging solutions for First Bus will be controlled via smart charging software to ensure power demand is utilised at the most efficient times, said First Bus, and each vehicle will be fully charged with the interior pre-heated for drivers at the start of each shift.

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