Glasgow is now home to the UK’s largest electric vehicle (EV) rapid-charging centre as First Bus completes the major transformation of its flagship Caledonia depot.
Scottish Transport Minister, Jenny Gilruth, visited the site this week to mark the completion of works, which will allow 150 EVs to be charged at the depot at one time – a feat that the Minister hailed as a ‘game changer’.
Caledonia depot, located in Glasgow’s southside, has had 160 state of the art, rapid charging points installed over the last nine months, supporting First Bus’ ambition to be emission-free by 2035.
The depot will not only support First Bus’ growing electric fleet in Glasgow, it will also help other organisations operating in the city to decarbonise their own fleets. With a first-of-its-kind innovation for the transport sector, First Bus is trialling use of its charging infrastructure during the day when its buses are out on service.
First Bus now plans to further expand the depot, in partnership with Ofgem and Scottish Power Energy Networks, with the construction of a new substation. The substation is intended to supply enough power to host an additional 200 vehicles and charging points, and will see Caledonia depot home to a total capacity of 350 charging points once built.
Scottish Minister for Transport, Jenny Gilruth, said: “I am delighted to visit the depot to see the scale of what is now the largest D.C. charging centre in UK, which has been made possible by £26.3 million of Scottish Government investment. This really is a gamer changer in our progress towards decarbonising Scotland’s buses.
“Alongside free travel for under-22s and over half a billion pounds in long term funding for bus priority infrastructure, we’re putting buses at the heart of Scotland’s just transition to net-zero by helping people to choose to travel more sustainably.
“We can only achieve that transition by all pulling together. What’s been achieved at the Caledonia depot is a great example of partnership working with the bus, energy and finance sectors to make the best use of Scottish Government investment.”
Duncan Cameron, Managing Director at First Bus Scotland, said: “We are thrilled to announce the completion of our Caledonia depot. This inspiring project has seen the depot transformed into one of the biggest EV rapid charging hubs of its kind anywhere.
“To deliver a project of this scale is a magnificent achievement for all the teams involved. It’s a landmark moment in our journey to completely overhaul our service for the good of the environment.
“We’re proud to be able to open up the possibility for more Glasgow companies to realise their own paths to zero emissions, too. With the great range our new EVs, and the immense power of these new charging stations, our buses only need to stop to be charged overnight, enabling us to free up the depot during the day for other electric fleets in and around Glasgow”.
First Glasgow’s Caledonia depot bus fleet will be 50% electric by December 2022, as it will take the delivery of a further 52 electric buses by the end of the year, adding to the 98 electric buses operating in the city.
The depot’s new rapid charging stations can fully charge a bus in just four hours if required and will be controlled via smart charging software to ensure that power is used in the most efficient way – an approach that will help to minimise the draw down from the national grid at peak times.
More electric vehicles will soon be coming to Glasgow and further afield, too, following First Bus’ recent success in the Scottish Government’s ScotZEB funding round; 50 new electric buses are now planned for First Glasgow’s Scotstoun depot, and First Aberdeen’s zero-emission fleet will be bolstered with an additional 24 electric vehicles.