Stagecoach and SSE Announce New Pilot Community Electric Charging Hub Initiative

  • Trial scheme would maximise efficiency of EV charging infrastructure by making it available to fleet users and local community during the day when buses are out of depots

Stagecoach, Britain’s biggest bus operator, and renewable energy leader SSE are pooling their collective expertise to pilot a new community electric vehicle charging hub to drive Scotland on the road to net zero.

The plan was announced on Mon 8th Nov as SSE’s Road to Renewables e-bus tour celebrating low carbon projects and people across the UK, reached the company’s Perth headquarters. With Glasgow continuing to host COP26 Stagecoach and SSE’s collaboration will maximise the efficiency of EV infrastructure and encourage the take up of green transport in Scotland.

stagecoach sse charging hub
The trial scheme hopes to maximise efficiency of EV charging infrastructure.

Under the plans Stagecoach bus depots, which SSE Energy Solutions provide the EV infrastructure for, could become available to other fleet users such as logistics companies, when buses are out on service. By convention buses are normally out on the road providing vital community links during a core period from around 7am to 7pm and are then charged overnight. This means the charging infrastructure is potentially free and available during the day for other electric vehicles to be charged from. This approach could assist efforts to create a network of rapid charging hubs for fleets which travel across the country, further helping efforts to decarbonise the transport sector.

Sam Greer, Stagecoach Regional Director for Scotland, said:

We are delighted to be launching a pilot of the community charging hub concept in partnership with SSE, two companies with strong commitments to delivering on Scotland's net zero ambitions.

Electric charging infrastructure is a significant investment and there is a real opportunity to maximise the benefit of the technology by making facilities available to other fleet users, such as logistics companies.

As well as helping accelerate decarbonisation, it would complement the wider opportunities beyond technology to cut carbon emissions from the transport sector and reduce local air pollution through a shift away from cars to more sustainable public transport, cycling and walking.

Transport produced over a quarter of the UK’s total carbon emissions before the pandemic, with 91% coming from road transport vehicles. The biggest contributors to this were cars and taxis, accounting for 61% of the emissions from road transport, while a total of 35% is from Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and vans.

Kevin Welstead, EV Sector Director of SSE Energy Solutions, said:

We think this is a game changing idea with the potential to really accelerate Scotland’s journey to net zero. COP26 coming to Scotland is a vivid reminder that we need to get more green and clean transport on our roads; and we believe a network of EV community hubs could hold the key to doing just that.

We’re excited to be partnering with Stagecoach on this pilot who share our vision to get more people using greener transport so we can provide cleaner air for our citizens and combat climate change. In Glasgow we are building the infrastructure for 150 green buses by the end of the year, and we’re keen we leave a lasting and sustainable legacy for Scotland from COP26.

During the photocall at SSE’s Perth headquarters at Inveralmond House staff were given an opportunity to learn more about how they can play their part in combatting climate change by choosing greener EV options for themselves.

Stagecoach has partnered with SSE to deliver the charging infrastructure for its new e-buses beingintroduced later this year at its depots in Aberdeen and Perth. The location for the new communitycharging hub pilot will be announced later this year.

Last week, a fleet of 10 Stagecoach electric double-decker buses transported world leaders – including Prime Minister Boris Johnson, UN Secretary General António Guterres and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi – who attended the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.

SSE is a major partner at COP26; and alongside the Go-Ahead group, Alexander Dennis, BYD and SWARCO Smart Charging has been using its Road to Renewables electric bus tour to showcase examples of the national effort already underway to decarbonise energy and transport:

The Road to Renewables EV bus journey:

  • The bus set off from Northumberland Park garage in north London on 18 October – home to the Bus2Grid project that could turn EV buses into two-way chargers.
  • Oxford – where SSE Networks is working with local business and community projects to help them transition to a zero-carbon energy system as part of its Project Leo initiative.
  • Lowestoft and the site of Greater Gabbard – a 500MW offshore wind farm which blazed a trail for the renewables sector when SSE built it in 2012. This stop celebrated engineers of tomorrow.
  • Peterborough Integrated Renewables Infrastructure project (PIRI) – the largest smart city-wide energy system in the UK. PIRI represents ‘whole system thinking’ in action with its capability to cut energy bills as well as provide green heat, electricity, and transport for locals.
  • Manchester – where SSE Energy Solutions is keen to help the city realise its net zero ambitions.
  • North Berwick – site of Berwick Bank offshore wind farm. When complete in 2027 it will be able to power over five million homes – equivalent to supplying all of Scotland’s households twice over.
  • Glasgow on October 29th saw a joint celebration with First Bus as they progress their Glasgow Caledonia EV bus depot, which will become the largest of its kind in the UK once fully complete. EV infrastructure being installed there by SSE Energy Solutions will power 150 new electric buses for Glasgow by the end of this year; helping to create cleaner air for the city centre.

This article was originally published by Stagecoach Group plc.


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