First Glasgow is to become the city’s first bus operator to introduce fully electric buses on a commercial route since the 1960s.
Unveiled this morning at George Square, the new electric buses will travel the M3 route which connects Milton and Springburn with the city centre and Stobhill Hospital.
The deployment is being funded as part of SP Energy Networks‘ £20 million Green Economy Fund, which is helping to support Glasgow’s goal to become the UK’s first net-zero emissions city by 2030. So far, 33 projects across Central and Southern Scotland have been awarded funding by the firm.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who attended First Glasgow’s Caledonia Depot to plug in the new electric buses in for their first charge, said the vehicles are a welcome addition to the city’s fleet.
She said: “It is a real pleasure to see First launch their fully electric buses in Glasgow, following funding from SP Energy Networks. Scotland was one of the first countries to acknowledge that we are facing a global climate emergency and we have legislated for the most ambitious carbon reduction target of any country in the world.
“A key part of our plans is encouraging greater use of public transport as well as phasing out petrol and diesel vehicles.”
The new electric buses, which have been built by Alexander Dennis, feature hi-tech mirrorless smartvision technology that removes the need for wing mirrors and reduces blind spots for drivers.
Passengers can access USB charging points, onboard audio-visual stop announcements and free WiFi throughout their journey.
22 electric vehicle charging points have also been added to First Glasgow’s Caledonia Depot through the funding deal, allowing more electric vehicles to be introduced in the future.
Andrew Jarvis, managing director of First Glasgow, said: “We are delighted to launch the city’s first conversion of a commercial bus service to fully electric operation. The whole team at First Glasgow are thrilled to be teamed up with SP Energy Networks in order to bring these state-of-the-art zero-emission vehicles to the people of Glasgow and the M3 route.
“Every customer journey on the route will save around 2kg of CO2 compared with driving on your own in an average car, making bus the best choice in reducing the impact on the planet.”
Frank Mitchell, CEO at SP Energy Networks, added: “Glasgow has ambitious plans to be the UK’s first net-zero carbon city by 2030, but for that to happen, there will be big changes across the city.
“The introduction of this new electric bus technology which will ultimately improve air quality and noise pollution in the city centre and other communities. We are very proud to be supporting this historic moment for Glasgow by fully funding the infrastructure and vehicles for its first completely electric bus route since the 1960s.”
This launch means that Glasgow will now reverted back to fully-electric transport on commercial routes for the first time in over half a century. In May 1967, the Glasgow Corporation decommissioned electric trolleybuses as part of an initiative to usher in a new era of transport in the city.