First Bus completes Phase One of UK’s largest electric bus depot in Glasgow

Posted: 7 October 2021 | | No comments yet

First Glasgow’s Caledonia bus depot is set to become the UK’s largest electric vehicle charging hub, with Phase One of the transformation now complete.

First Bus completes Phase One of UK's largest electric bus depot

Credit: First Bus

First Bus, Scotland’s largest bus operator, is now able to fully charge buses in its growing electric fleet in just four hours as Phase One of a major works programme completes at what is set to be the UK’s largest Electric Vehicle (EV) charging hub.

Glasgow’s Caledonia bus depot has reached a key milestone in its green transformation plans with the installation of 11 advanced rapid 150kW dual cable charging units. This first phase of work has been completed ahead of a new batch of 22 electric buses arriving at the depot ahead of COP26, and marks a significant step forward in First Bus’ plans to have a zero-emission fleet by 2035.

With phased completion for the remainder of the work scheduled to take place over the course of 2022, the depot has been designed to accommodate and charge up to 300 EV buses on site – and will see the introduction of 150 electric buses over the course of 2022 and early 2023.

Each rapid charging station will be controlled via smart charging software to ensure that power is used in the most efficient way. This approach will help to minimise the draw down from the national grid at peak times. The digital programming will also mean that each vehicle is fully charged and that the bus interiors are pre-heated, ready for drivers and customers from the moment that the vehicles leave the depot.

With an additional 69 rapid chargers to be installed in Phase Two, the Caledonia depot will soon be able to charge 162 vehicles at one time.

Janette Bell, Managing Director for First Bus UK, said: “Innovative technology and electric infrastructure are key to minimising the UK’s carbon emissions, and so it’s fantastic to see this first step of our vision for the UK’s largest EV bus depot come to fruition. Our transition to a zero emission fleet is a bold ambition and, at every stage, First Bus is committed to transforming our business for the good of the environment. We’re proud to be putting our weight behind Scotland’s green ambitions, and the completion of this first phase of works at the Caledonia depot gives us an exciting glimpse into the future of bus. To see this first EV charging station site completed and ready to go in Glasgow, just as the city prepares to host COP26 later [in 2021], is a brilliant achievement.”

Following completion, the adapted depot will have the capability to charge 89 per cent of the depot’s electric bus fleet at the same time using smart charging software. First Bus’ long-term objective is to ensure that the site is fully prepared for the transition to a 100 per cent zero emission fleet. This will include opportunities for further on-site renewable energy generation and storage. 

The depot transformation is being delivered thanks to over £63 million of funding: First Bus is investing £35.6 million into the project, while the Scottish government’s Scottish Ultra Low Bus Scheme (SULEB) is funding a further £28.2 million.