First Bus was keen to further develop and expand the electrification of their fleet, having the Caledonia Bus Depot in Glasgow, the biggest fast charging depot in the United Kingdom, as the starting point for their transition into e-mobility to achieve its goals of a fully zero emission e-bus fleet by 2035.
As their bus fleet will mostly charge overnight, First Bus developed a charging model where during the daytime the chargers could be used to charge the cars for business customers. Thus, the main challenges for this depot were addressing the usage of space and the grid connection to charge all the vehicles in the depot.
To enable reliable charging to both buses, auxiliary cars and Vans, Heliox installed a total of 80 Rapid 150kW Modular (160 DC outlets) chargers and 2 40kW Mobile (2 outlets) chargers - making it, as of date, the biggest fast charging depot in the United Kingdom, capable of simultaneously charging 162 vehicles with a total installed power of 12MW.
As First Bus would like to optimize the use of all hardware set up, some of the chargers may be used during the day, to charge commercial fleet customers (such as taxis and delivery vans) and overnight to charge their 150 e-bus fleet. Chargers at this kW level are often not found inside city limits because of the required heavy grid connection, thus making this an attractive availability for business customers. In order to achieve this, Heliox designed the charging stations with bespoke cable length, thus successfully addressing the use of space making sure all vehicles can connect and charge in optimal conditions. The chargers are also fitted with contactless payment consoles and easy-to-use touchscreens. Lastly, the chargers are able to charge both heavy vehicles and passenger vehicles simultaneously!
Installation of the first phase of the project took place just in time for the grand opening during COP26.
This charging infrastructure is covered by a 15-year Service and Maintenance Agreement, with Heliox guaranteeing 24/7 support on all the installed hardware. Thus removing the risk of the operation from First Bus while helping to reduce their cost of ownership and increasing maximum availability and increased uptime.
With additional implementations at the depot, the charging capabilities will go up to 300 electric buses. The Caledonia Glasgow Depot is a major step to First Bus zero emission goals and a key marketing landmark for the whole bus industry showcasing the future of scalable and reliable fast charging stations.