First Glasgow, Alexander Dennis Ltd (ADL) and BYD UK Ltd are collaborating to deliver a £9million investment in 22 new fully electric buses onto the Glasgow city bus network and into operation ahead of the United Nations Conference of Parties (COP26) which is coming to Glasgow in November 2021.

First Bus is focused on becoming a leader in the transition to a low-carbon future and has recently announced its commitment to operating a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035 as well as pledging not to purchase any new diesel buses after December 2022.

The new batch of zero emission fleet is now ready to hit production at ADL’s Scottish base in Falkirk, marking a massive boost for the sector and helping to secure jobs in the local area.

First Glasgow’s 22 new electric buses, which will be 11.6m long and seat up to 40 passengers each, will be based at the state-of-the-art Caledonia depot in the city.

This follows an earlier project which saw a pair of BYD ADL Enviro200EV introduced at the start of 2020, giving the company valuable experience in the operation of electric buses.

The 22 new electric vehicles as well as the relevant infrastructure will be completed at the First Glasgow Caledonia depot and in place ready to go on the Glasgow network in plenty of time for the city hosting COP26.

First Glasgow are investing over £5m alongside an award for £4million as part of Transport Scotland’s new funding stream, the Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme, which will combine to purchase the fully electric buses for the Glasgow bus network. This total investment of over £9m is a massive step forward for the city’s air quality improvement drive and carbon free aspirations.

Scottish Power Energy Networks will also be providing over £300k in contributions to the project from their Green Economy Fund, which will go toward the electrical infrastructure needed to charge the vehicles at First Glasgow’s Caledonia Depot.

Andrew Jarvis, Managing Director for First Glasgow, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this funding to help close the gap in price between a diesel and an electric bus.

“Cleaner air and lower carbon emissions are vitally important to all of us in society and we are determined to play our part in the communities that we serve.

“In January last year, we launched the city’s first electric buses on a commercial bus route 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 carbon emission fleet by 2035 and we are already leading the way with the first commercially operated electric buses in Glasgow as well as the world’s first double decker hydrogen buses on the road at our sister company 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 of Glasgow City Council for the country’s first ever LEZ rollout and we have ambitious plans to help accelerate this process and make up for time lost due to the pandemic.”

Paul Davies, ADL President & Managing Director, said: “COP26 will be a showcase of Britain’s commitment to fighting climate change, and First’s new electric buses will be a testament to the initiative taken by the transport group to achieve a zero-emission fleet by 2035.

“Assembled in Scotland, these electric buses for Glasgow keep Scottish Government investment in the country to maximise the benefit to our communities, underpinning jobs and developing skills in clean vehicle technology.”

Frank Thorpe, Managing Director at BYD UK, added: “Once again we have a high profile operator in a major British city making a firm commitment to eMobility. With BYD battery technology at the heart of these vehicles, First Bus can look forward to clean, reliable and efficient operation for years to come.

“Of course, we’re thrilled at the prospect of our vehicles taking centre stage during COP26, although the real winners will be the people of Glasgow who are set to benefit from a new way of travelling around their great city – a way that is truly sustainable, as well as extremely safe and comfortable.”