McGill’s extends electric buses order to 35; hydrogen to follow

McGills electric buses order extended to 35

McGill’s Group has announced a second order for battery-electric buses in another step on its move away from diesel. It takes to 35 the number of such vehicles to be delivered to the Greenock-based business, which represents an investment of £17.5m.

The further order will see Xplore Dundee receive 12 BYD ADL Enviro400EV double-deckers, while a single Enviro200EV will join 22 already-announced Yutong E12s in the McGill’s Buses fleet at Johnstone depot.

The single-deckers are to be used on a route between Glasgow and Johnstone. Xplore Dundee will deploy its Enviro400EVs to service 28 between Myrekirk and Douglas via the city centre. They will be known as Electric Emeralds.

All the battery-electric buses and infrastructure are to be delivered in the second half of 2021, ahead of the COP26 summit in Glasgow on 1-12 November. Money has been received from the Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme (SULEBS) towards their purchase.

In addition to the confirmed battery-electric bus orders, McGill’s says that it is in “advanced talks with a variety of partners” to bring 12 hydrogen fuel cell-electric examples into the Xplore Dundee fleet. They are due to arrive “in the next 12 months.” Dundee is part of the European Union JIVE 2 hydrogen bus project.

Says McGill’s Group Chief Executive Ralph Roberts: “Customer and driver comfort is at the forefront of our specification and we are confident that bus users will enjoy the silence and comfort safe in the knowledge that their already low-emission journeys are now zero-emission at the point of use, with the benefits that brings for air quality and the environment.

“We led the charge on introducing ‘clean diesel’ Euro VI fleet, and by the end of 2021, McGill’s Group will operate more electric buses than any other operator in Scotland.”

Sandy Easdale, who along with his brother James own McGill’s, says that the orders demonstrate their ongoing confidence both in the business and the transport sector.

“When we purchased Xplore Dundee in December 2020 we promised that we would continue to invest. This brings our expenditure to more than £50m over the past seven years. McGill’s has been built into such a successful brand by our willingness to spend and provide a quality service to passengers. That will continue.”

The first round of SULEBS provided £10.8m to support five successful bids that will see a total of 62 zero-emission vehicles enter service in Scotland. A second round of the scheme closes on 21 February. It will provide £25m towards the purchase of an anticipated further 140 battery-electric buses and their associated infrastructure.