Two fully-electric buses have been introduced to the streets of Glasgow, Scotland, representing the city’s first use of such transport on a commercial route in almost 53 years. 

It is the first time electric buses for commercial use have run in Scotland’s biggest city since electric trolley buses were taken offline in 1967.

In an announcement at the end of last week, operator First Glasgow said funding for the buses came through a £20 million ($25.97 million) Green Economy Fund from SP Energy Networks.

First Glasgow will also use the money to install 22 charging points at its Glasgow Caledonia Depot, which the firm said would enable it to introduce more electric buses to its fleet.

The introduction of the buses comes at the start of a year which will see Glasgow host the COP26 climate summit in November. Glaswegian authorities want the city to be carbon neutral by the year 2030.

At the launch, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, said: “Scotland was one of the first countries to acknowledge that we are facing a global climate emergency and we have legislated for the most ambitious carbon reduction target of any country in the world.”

Behind the pack

Glasgow has some way to go if it is to catch up with other cities that use electric buses. London is home to more than 200 while Shenzhen, in China, boasts over 16,300.

“City buses offer a great opportunity for electrification,” Myles McCarthy, director, Implementation and eMobility at the Carbon Trust, said in a statement sent to CNBC via email.

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McCarthy added that the routes and daily duties of city buses were both well-defined and consistent, meaning that battery range anxiety was not an issue.

“They operate in highly populated city centres where local air pollution from diesel and petrol vehicles is a growing concern,” he explained. “And they have frequent stop/start journeys that suits electric drive-trains with regenerative braking to recover the energy when the vehicle slows down.”

Hydrogen buses are also being used in cities such as Aberdeen and London, while European railway manufacturer Alstom recently launched a hydrogen fuel cell passenger train.



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