School pupils have helped fire the starting gun for Glasgow’s role in COP26 by opening an official First Bus EV charging station for the climate change conference in the heart of the city.
Primary pupils from Jordanhill School in Glasgow were joined by Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack MP and Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights Patrick Harvie MSP as they plugged in a COP26-branded pure electric bus. The vehicle has been used by SSE and its partners over the past fortnight on a tour of the UK, highlighting examples of net zero projects.
The vehicle used on the ‘Road to Renewables’ tour is a BYD ADL Enviro400EV pure electric double decker built in Britain by BYD and Alexander Dennis with a range of 160 miles – meaning it could get from Glasgow to Aberdeen on a single charge.
The youngsters visited the First Caledonia bus depot, where SSE – a principal partner of COP26 – is helping install charging infrastructure to power 150 clean green buses for Glasgow at what will be the biggest depot in the UK and provide cleaner air for the city.
The installation of 11 advanced dual-headed rapid charging units at the Caledonia depot marks a significant step forward in First Bus’s plans to have a zero-emission fleet by 2035. The depot has been designed to accommodate and charge up to 300 EV buses and has been funded through a £35 million investment by First Bus which has been supported by a further £28 from the Scottish Government through their Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme.
As Glasgow welcomes the leaders of the world, First Bus has teamed up with Octopus Energy and Hitachi Europe – another principal partner of COP26 – to deliver a free and rapid EV charging hub for delegates. The facility is part of a ‘Together for our Planet’ event which will use virtual reality to show how bus depots can be transformed into fleet charging hubs, accelerating the transition to zero emission fleets.
“First Bus are delighted to be playing host to such a prestigious event and it is an honour taking part in the COP26 Together for our Planet campaign. The eyes of the world will be focused on Glasgow for the next few weeks and so it is great to be able to share our ambitions for the future of public transport and the role it has to play in meeting our collective climate challenge targets,” said Janette Bell, Managing Director for First Bus UK.
“As leaders in sustainable mobility, First Bus are fully aligned with the Government’s ambitions for a net-zero carbon transport system, including zero-emission bus fleets. We have already committed to achieving this by 2035 and we look forward to showcasing this to delegates over the course of the event.”
First Bus has recently taken delivery of 22 brand new electric buses with associated charging infrastructure, part-funded by Transport Scotland through the Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus scheme (SULEB). Another 126 electric vehicles are due to be delivered over the next 18 months, with further expansion of charging infrastructure to match.
SSE, alongside the Go-Ahead Group, SWARCO Smart Charging, and bus builders Alexander Dennis and BYD, has used a pure electric bus tour to showcase examples of the national effort already underway to decarbonise.