Hitachi and FirstGroup Accelerate the UK’s Push to Electric Mobility

Hitachi and FirstGroup Accelerate the UK’s Push to Electric Mobility, Delivering 1,000 New Bus Batteries

  • Hitachi ZeroCarbon will deliver world-leading battery charging and management services for 1,500 buses
  • Hitachi and FirstGroup plc to purchase up to 1,000 electric bus batteries through new joint venture for FirstGroup’s First Bus division
  • It is anticipated taking 1,500 diesel buses off the road will save 84,675 tCO2e per year – 677,400 tCO2e over the eight year period

First Buses parked at a depot at night

Hitachi ZeroCarbon Ltd. has partnered with FirstGroup plc to lead the UK’s shift to electric buses. The collaboration, which is part of FirstGroup’s bus fleet and infrastructure decarbonisation programme, will provide batteries for First Bus’s expanding electric bus fleet, helping to make a positive impact on air quality, tackle congestion and improve customer experience.

The partnership will see up to £10m cash investment each from Hitachi and FirstGroup, supporting the acquisition of 1,000 batteries.

In addition, under the agreement, Hitachi ZeroCarbon will provide its world-leading Battery Charging and Management Services (BCMS) for 1,000 buses powered by the new batteries as well as a further commitment of 500 vehicles beyond FY 2026. This will allow FirstGroup to optimise bus battery efficiency and cost, likely resulting in materially lower future capital deployment by extending the batteries’ useful bus life beyond their initial eight-year OEM warranty periods, at zero lease cost. Through smart charging, effective battery management and dynamic energy management, First Bus, one of the UK’s largest bus operators, is also likely to see improved energy utilisation.

The partnership further cements both parties’ commitment to reducing emissions. FirstGroup’s ambition is to be the partner of choice for innovative and sustainable transport, accelerating the transition to a zero-carbon world, and has pledged to operate a zero-emission First Bus fleet by 2035. Hitachi is a climate change innovator, using technology to help governments, businesses and cities cut carbon around the world.

The new venture will build on the two companies’ existing strong relationship, which has already seen Hitachi Europe selected as the prime strategic partner for First Bus’s decarbonisation programme at its flagship Caledonia bus depot in Glasgow during the UN’s COP26 summit.

Alistair Dormer, Executive Vice President and Executive Officer, General Manager of Green Energy & Mobility Strategy Planning Division, Hitachi Ltd. said:

“Hitachi is committed to becoming a climate change innovator. We continuously strive for growth through collaboration and co-creation with our partners and customers, and this specific partnership enables us to use our innovative technologies and global expertise to help decarbonise fleets efficiently, discover untapped revenue streams, and maximise the residual value of assets. I’m delighted we’ve successfully grown our existing relationship with FirstGroup, which will further add to our decarbonisation experience and combined learnings, in developing solutions for transport operators globally.”

Graham Sutherland, FirstGroup Chief Executive Officer said:

“The pioneering alliance with Hitachi is a major strategic partnership for the Group as we progress towards our ambitious 2035 decarbonisation target for our bus fleet. It will allow us to continue the electrification of our fleet and depots with increased efficiency and greater visibility of our financial commitment, and unlike other possible arrangements, we will retain much of the residual value in the batteries as they are taken off our buses. Looking ahead, we are also excited about the possibilities for future value creation as Hitachi ZeroCarbon delivers market leading decarbonisation solutions to transport operators worldwide, leveraging our joint experience.”

To find out more about Hitachi’s ZeroCarbon’s mission to deliver end-to-end decarbonisation solutions visit:

This article was originally published by Hitachi ZeroCarbon.

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