First Glasgow celebrates Clean Air Day with announcement of 22 new electric vehicles

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First Bus has been awarded over £4m as part of Transport Scotland’s new funding programme, the Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus scheme (SULEB), which will help pay some of the costs of purchasing 22 new fully electric buses for the Glasgow bus network.

The new buses will be made by Alexander Dennis Ltd (ADL) at its plant in Falkirk, helping to secure jobs in the local area. First Glasgow is also investing over £5m alongside this funding to help bring the project to life.
Scottish Power Energy Networks will also be providing over £300k in contribution to the project from its Green Economy Fund which will go towards the electrical infrastructure needed to charge the vehicles at First Glasgow’s Caledonia Depot.

Both the 22 new fully electric vehicles as well as the relevant infrastructure will be completed by autumn 2021 in time for the city hosting COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference.

Over £3m of funding through Transport Scotland’s latest round of BEAR funding will also help transform some of the oldest buses in the fleet into low emission vehicles. The grant allows operators to upgrade the exhaust systems on mid-life vehicles to achieve a significantly lower emissions output. 165 buses will have their exhaust systems changed to meet the current Euro VI standard which will significantly improve emissions of Nitrogen Oxide (NOX) and fine particulate matter (PM2) across its Glasgow network.

In the past year, First Glasgow has reached a significant milestone with more than 40% of vehicles being Euro VI standard or better. The retrofit programme along with the 22 pure electric vehicles will further enhance its Glasgow City Council LEZ compliance plan, with over 60% of the vehicles reaching Euro VI standard once the 187-vehicle projects are completed.
Andrew Jarvis, Managing Director for First Glasgow, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this funding. Cleaner air is vitally important to all of us in society and we are determined to play our part in the communities that we serve.

“In January this year, we launched the city’s first electric buses on a commercial bus route since the trams and trolleybuses of the past and we are proud that we can now build upon this with another 22 fully electric vehicles, which will replace the oldest buses in our fleet to further improve air quality in the city of Glasgow.

“This is another step on our journey to operating a fully zero emission fleet by 2035 and we are already leading the way with the first commercially operated electric buses in Glasgow as well as the soon-to-launch world’s first double-decker hydrogen buses in Aberdeen.

“We have been key partners with Local Authorities on the introduction of fair Low Emission Zones across Scotland. We have led the way with bus operators in Glasgow as a key partner with Glasgow City Council for the country’s first ever LEZ rollout.”

In addition to recent new low emission buses, First is investing in further electric buses and upgrading a large number of vehicles to Euro VI. JONATHAN WELCH