First Bus and Hitachi Europe enter decarbonisaton partnership

First Bus and Hitachi Europe enter strategic partnership

First Bus and Hitachi Europe have agreed a strategic partnership that will see Hitachi support decarbonisation work at First Glasgow’s Caledonia depot.

The agreement captures bus battery finance via an ‘as a service’ model; smart charging software; and on-site zero-carbon power generation. It will get underway with the introduction of 148 battery-electric BYD ADL buses to Caledonia over the next 18 months. The first of those have already entered service transporting delegates at the COP26 climate change conference in the city.

For the initial Caledonia deployment, Hitachi Europe will provide bus batteries on a subscription basis via a model that guarantees a minimum state of health for each unit. The agreement will also specify the optimum time to replace those batteries.

The smart charging aspect of the partnership will include telematics on buses and charging points. Such an approach will provide live status updates for both. The software will help to ensure that charging at peak times does not draw excessive power from the grid, balancing both requirements and electricity costs.

For the decarbonisation element, the two businesses will collaboratively work on technology such as solar panels and battery energy storage solutions for Caledonia.

In a joint statement, they say that “there is potential that this aspect… will eventually lead to First Glasgow generating and consuming its own electricity as well as meeting local community environmental, social and governance needs by delivering zero-carbon charging hubs for other business fleet users.”

Additionally, Hitachi and First Glasgow will also deliver a ‘Together for our planet’ event at Caledonia during COP26. It will include a virtual headset tour of the city, a drive-in cinema showing a film about the history of public transport that can be viewed while guests charge their vehicles, speakers from the transport, energy and climate industries, and a Climate Café.