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School pupils plug in SSE pure electric bus at First Bus official COP26 charging facility

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By Distributed Energy
29 October 2021

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Unique SSE EV Bus tour concludes at First Bus Caledonia garage in time to be charged at one of the official EV facilities for COP26

School pupils joined by Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack MP and Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights Patrick Harvie MSP

School pupils today (29 October) helped fire the starting gun for Glasgow’s role in COP26 by opening an official 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.

Kieran Gilmurray, Finance Director of SSE’s Energy Businesses, said: “SSE is very proud that our distributed energy team is installing the EV infrastructure here that will power 150 green buses for Glasgow by the end of the year, delivering cleaner public transport for its citizens. SSE is also a Principal Partner for COP26 and as the world’s attention focuses on what Scotland is doing to decarbonise, we’re here to showcase this site which will be the largest EV charging hub of its kind in the UK.

“We’re also delighted to conclude our SSE ‘Road to Renewables’ electric bus tour today. We started in London 11 days ago and we’ve been celebrating the efforts already underway by SSE, and others, to get to net zero as COP26 prepares to open for business here in my hometown of Glasgow on Monday.”

Janette Bell, Managing Director for First Bus UK, said: “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. “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.”

Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights Patrick Harvie said: “I’m pleased to see the partnership approach from First Bus, SSE, Octopus Energy and Hitachi, all coming together to welcome Glasgow and the world to the Caledonia Depot during COP26.

“We need to end the negative contribution made by transport towards irreversible climate change. To support this, we’re investing in the decarbonisation of public transport. We’ve provided £28 million through the Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme to help transform the Caledonia Depot and to help fund the electric buses operating for delegates during the Conference, which will then become service buses for the people of Glasgow.

“Choosing to travel by bus is already a climate positive choice compared to choosing to drive, and we’re helping to support this by providing free bus travel for people aged under 22 starting next year. Zero emission electric buses offer even more benefits for our air quality and for our climate, and it’s good to see the progress being made by First Bus and other partners here in Glasgow.”

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack said: "In a matter of days, the eyes of the world will be upon Glasgow as world leaders gather for COP26. We are facing a world climate emergency, and it is vital that we take action across the globe. We all need to do our bit, and using more sustainable means of transport is something we can all do. I was very pleased to welcome the arrival of the SSE’s 100% electric bus and see the First Bus EV charging facility, which will do a huge amount to make Glasgow’s transport greener.”

Alexander Dennis president and managing director Paul Davies said: "Alexander Dennis is playing its part on the road to net zero by supporting thousands of skilled green jobs directly and across our supply chain. Our British-built zero emission buses are helping cut carbon emissions and local air pollution. As a global leader in the design and manufacture of double deck buses, we've been proud to support the Road to Renewables tour, and are delighted with the level of engagement and interest from customers and local authority stakeholders that this electric double deck bus has generated.

“With the COP26 climate change conference about to start, the Road to Renewables partners have shown that they have the solutions needed for a sustainable future.”

Mike Nugent, Head of EV, Hitachi Europe Ltd, said: “As a Principal Partner of COP26, Hitachi is proud to support First Bus in delivering their rapid EV charging Hub. Our Zero Carbon initiative and partnership with First Bus is at the heart of our Environment Strategy and sets the benchmark for decarbonised transport in the UK.

“Working with First Bus, we will deliver a bus decarbonisation programme and place the electric bus depot at the heart of the local community, through the delivery of charging and electrification services.

“The EV charging hub is one example of how we are aiming to deliver new community services and regeneration opportunities through the electrification programme.”

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 power, heat and transport.