Glasgow welcomes 22 new e-buses ahead of COP26
In terms of picking an occasion for maximum impact, rolling out new electric buses in time for the UN climate summit (COP26) in Glasgow can hardly be improved upon. The bus builders Alexander Dennis (ADL) and Chinese automakers BYD announced on March 3rd that their electric vehicle partnership has taken an order for 22 electric buses from First Glasgow, the Glasgow division of First Bus.
The single-decker buses which have capacity for up to 40 passengers will be deployed in the city ahead of the crucial summit in November. Using BYD’s battery technology, ADL will assemble the vehicles at their factory in Falkirk, north east of Glasgow, and house them at their Caledonia depot in Glasgow.
The £9m funding for the buses will be shared between First Bus (providing £5m) with the remainder coming from the Scottish Government as part of their Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme. An additional £300,000 will be provided by Scottish Power Energy Networks from their Green Economy Fund to upgrade the charging infrastructure.
First Glasgow introduced two electric buses to the city in January 2020 with successful results and the new buses will replace some of the older models in their fleet. Announcing the news, the partnership emphasised that the local production of the buses demonstrated “the benefit to [Scottish] communities, underpinning jobs and developing skills in clean vehicle technology”.
First Bus has targeted 2035 as the date when they aim to run a zero-emission fleet and have pledged not to purchase any new diesel buses from 2023 onwards. In September 2020, the company received a grant of £3m from the Scottish Government to retrofit exhaust systems on 165 of their fleet of diesel buses to meet current Euro VI standards – the cleanest diesel engine currently available. This action will see over 60% of their buses meeting that standard and significantly lowering emissions.
ADL is also involved in another innovative transport initiative: production of a double-decker hydrogen-fuelled bus which will deliver a zero-emission range of up to 300 miles. Announced in February, the bus will be designed and built in Britain and is expected to be on the road before the end of the year.
BYD and ADL are also partners in a project – Bus2Grid – which, through the use of smart technology, will provide energy back to the National Grid from a fleet of 28 customised buses at a site in North London. Although Covid-19 lockdown restrictions have prevented the setting of a specific “switch on” date, the Bus2Grid project is gearing-up for operations to commence in the summer of 2021.