Glasgow depot becoming largest electric charging hub

Work has begun on transforming First Bus’ Glasgow Caledonia bus depot into what is being called the UK’s largest electric vehicle (EV) charging hub.

With phased completion scheduled across the next 18 months, the redeveloped Caledonia depot, already the UK’s largest bus 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 ADL/BYD electric buses to Glasgow’s streets ahead of COP26, the United Nations Climate Change conference. A further 126 buses are due to be delivered and in service over 2021 and 2022, with the order complete by spring 2023.

The plans are another major step forward in the leading transport operator’s sustainable travel agenda and follows their pledge to only invest in low and zero-emission vehicles from December 2022, with a 100% zero-emission fleet by 2035.

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 six-month period, increasing the number of chargers on the site to 162. The transformation has been made possible in part due to First Bus being awarded a further £24.3m in a successful bid in the second round of the Scottish Ultra Low Bus Scheme (SULEB).

“We are proud to be announcing the UK’s largest EV charging infrastructure as part of our transition to a zero-emission fleet” – Janette Bell, Managing Director for First Bus UK

Janette Bell, Managing Director for First Bus UK, said: “First Bus is at the forefront of the green transport revolution, and we continue to fast-track our efforts to surpass passenger expectations. 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.”

First Bus’s 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.

First Bus’s power solutions partner for this project, Dutch company Heliox. The Caledonia project will be its first project in the UK, and it is the largest project it has undertaken in terms of the amount of charging points installed. First Bus is adopting Heliox’s 150 kW modular rapid charging solution, which can charge any type of electric vehicle, extending usage beyond the immediate bus fleet.

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