Glasgow is now home to the UK’s largest electric vehicle (EV) rapid-charging centre as First Bus completes the major transformation of its flagship Caledonia depot.

Scottish transport minister Jenny Gilruth visited the site to mark the completion of works, which will allow 150 electric buses to be charged at the depot at one time – a feat that the minister hailed as a game-changer.

“Alongside free travel for under-22s and over half a billion pounds in long-term funding for bus priority infrastructure, we’re putting buses at the heart of Scotland’s transition to net-zero by helping people to choose to travel more sustainably,” Gilruth said.

“We can only achieve that transition by all pulling together. What’s been achieved at the Caledonia depot is a great example of partnership working with the bus, energy and finance sectors to make the best use of Scottish government investment,” she said.

The Caledonia depot, located in Glasgow’s southside, has had 160 state-of-the art, rapid-charging points installed over the last nine months, supporting First Bus’s ambition to be emission-free by 2035.

The depot will not only support First Bus’s growing electric fleet in Glasgow; it will also help other organisations operating in the city to decarbonise their own fleets. With a first-of-its-kind innovation for the transport sector, First Bus is trialling the use of its charging infrastructure to third-party businesses during the day when its buses are out on service.

Managing director for of First Bus Scotland Duncan Cameron was thrilled to announce the completion of the upgrades.

“We’re proud to enable more Glasgow companies to realise their own paths to zero emissions, too. With the great range of our new EVs, and the immense power of these new charging stations, our buses only need to stop to be charged overnight, allowing us to free up the depot during the day for other electric fleets in and around Glasgow,” Cameron said.

First Glasgow’s Caledonia Depot bus fleet will be 50 per cent electric by December 2022 when it takes delivery of a further 52 electric buses. Glasgow currently has 98 electric buses operating in the city.

First Bus now plans to expand the depot further, in partnership with Ofgem and Scottish Power Energy Networks, with the construction of a new substation. This will supply enough power to host an additional 200 vehicles and charging points and will see Caledonia depot home to a total capacity of 350 charging points once built.

This ground-breaking project will now act as a pathfinder for other locations around the UK as First Bus look to ramp up its decarbonisation programme with further investment committed alongside recently awarded funding via the Scottish Zero Emission Bus challenge fund and the UK’s Zero Emission Bus Rapid-deployment Accelerator initiative.