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First Bus lays claim to UK's largest EV charging hub as it unveils depot electrification plans

Image: First Bus.

Image: First Bus.

First Bus is transforming one of its depots into the UK’s largest EV charging hub with the installation of 162 150kW electric vehicle (EV) chargers.

The project has been split up into phases, all of which are expected to be completed across the next 18 months, with the Scottish bus depot – already the UK’s largest – to have space to charge up to 300 electric buses.

Phase one of the project will see 11 dual DC rapid charging units installed by September. Phase two will see a further 69 dual-headed charging units installed over a six month period, set to start later this summer.

Dutch smart charging supplier Heliox has been chosen for the installations, with the chargers to be controlled via smart charging software, ensuring that power demand is utilised at the most efficient times so as to not overwhelm the network.

The project marks Heloix’s first in the UK, as well as its largest overall in terms of the number of chargepoints installed.

It is being part-funded by the Scottish Ultra-Low Emission Bus Scheme (SULEB), and has been awarded £28.2 million across the first two rounds.

First Bus has committed a further £35.6 million to fast-track the depot’s transition to electric.

The first fleet of 22 SULEB-funded buses provided by Alexander Dennis are scheduled to be in service from September, with the second fleet of an additional 126 EV buses to be fully in operation by March 2023. Together with the two EV single-deck buses currently in operation, this will take the percentage of buses operating out of the Caledonia depot to 45% electric.

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

Last month, a separate project laid claim to being the UK's largest EV charging hub. This one is to see 236 EV charging bays installed at the Brent Cross Shopping Centre car park in north London by Franklin Energy, with a completion date in five years' time.

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