First Bus to transform Caledonia depot into UK’s largest EV charging station

Work has begun by First Bus to transform its Glasgow Caledonia bus depot into the UK’s largest EV charging hub. The plans are another major step forward in the operator’s sustainable travel agenda and follows its pledge to only invest in low and zero-emission vehicles from December 2022, with a 100 per cent zero-emission fleet by 2035.

With phased completion scheduled across the next 18 months, the redeveloped Caledonia depot, already the UK’s largest bus depot, will have space to charge up to 300 EV buses on site. The first phase of the project, now underway, will see 11 dual DC rapid charging units installed.

Phase One of the depot transformation is expected to be complete by September this year, allowing for the introduction of a further 22 electric buses to Glasgow’s streets ahead of COP26, the UN Climate Change conference.

Phase Two of the project is scheduled to start later this summer and will see a further 69 dual DC charging units installed over a six-month period, increasing the number of chargers on the site to 162. The work has been made possible in part due to First Bus being awarded a further £24.3million in a successful bid in the second round of the Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme (SULEB). 

“First Bus is at the forefront of the green transport revolution, and we continue to fast-track our efforts to surpass passenger expectations,” says Janette Bell, managing director, First Bus UK. “We are proud to be announcing the UK’s largest EV charging infrastructure as part of our transition to a zero-emission fleet.”

First Bus’ power solutions partner for the project, Dutch company Heliox, has previously worked on EV projects at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, Wiesbaden’s Gartenfeldstraβe depot in Germany, and the biggest electric bus charging network in Oslo, Norway. The Caledonia project will be its first project in the UK, and it is the largest project they have undertaken in terms of the amount of charging points installed.

First Bus is adopting Heliox’s market leading 150kW modular rapid charging solution. The charger is ultra-flexible and can charge any type of electric vehicle, extending usage beyond the immediate bus fleet.