Alexander gets largest ever Scots electric bus order

Falkirk-based global bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) and partner BYD UK said on Wednesday their electric bus partnership received an order from Aberdeen-based First Bus for a further 126 zero-emission buses for Glasgow.

All are part-funded by the Scottish Government and the order is the largest ever for electric buses in Scotland.

News of the First Bus order followed Tuesday’s announcement by Alexander Dennis and BYD UK that they took orders from Perth-based Stagecoach for 46 zero emission buses — also part-funded by the Scottish Government — which will be deployed in Aberdeen, Perth and Kilmarnock.

Alexander Dennis is now a subsidiary of Toronto-listed NFI Group Inc.

Souter Investments, the family investment office of Stagecoach Group founder Brian Souter, sold Alexander Dennis to NFI Group for about £320 million in May 2019.

“The BYD ADL partnership has taken the order from First Bus after the operator’s bid for funding in the Scottish Government’s latest round of Scottish Ultra Low Emission Bus Scheme was successful,” said Alexander Dennis.

“Using BYD’s battery electric driveline technology, ADL will assemble the buses at its factory in Falkirk, ensuring the investment benefits the local economy in Scotland’s Central Belt …

“These new buses will all be introduced to the Glasgow city bus network by March 2023.”

First Bus managing director Janette Bell said: “As leaders in sustainable mobility, we are fully aligned with the Government’s ambitions for a zero-carbon bus fleet and have already committed to this by 2035.

“We will continue to ensure that our progress doesn’t just exceed the expectation outlined in the strategy, but that it also puts the expectations of our customers front and centre.”

First Glasgow MD Andrew Jarvis said: “We have led the way with bus operators in Glasgow as a key partner of Glasgow City Council for the country’s first ever LEZ rollout and this latest announcement helps us to deliver shared objectives and make up lost time due to the pandemic.”

ADL President & Managing Director Paul Davies said: “This is a very large investment by First Bus in new electric buses and is yet another step on their journey to achieve a zero-emission fleet by 2035, and we look forward to working closely with them to get these new buses onto the streets of Glasgow at pace.

“These zero emission buses will be built at our factory in Falkirk and it is great news for Scotland that this investment is being recycled into the local economy, allowing the benefits to be felt across our communities whilst helping to underpin skilled jobs.”

Sam Greer, Regional Director for Stagecoach in Scotland, said: “Sustainable public transport is critical to the future of our planet: decarbonising local journeys, reducing road congestion, improving air quality and tackling climate change.

“We welcome today’s announcement by Scottish Government of additional funding to support the roll out of 46 new electric buses in Scotland.

“This major investment will also provide a boost for Scotland’s world-leading bus manufacturing sector, helping to protect and grow jobs in Scotland.

“As major investment is made in zero and low emission buses, it also enables us to build further on developing in skills and training for our engineering teams to maintain the new greener fleet as we transition to new zero emission technologies.

“As Scotland gears up to host the COP 26 climate change summit in November, it’s a crucial time for us all to think about how we can help deliver a greener recovery from Covid-19.

“Major investment in new zero-emission buses also needs to be matched by better road infrastructure and more bus priority measures to help encourage people to make the switch from car to sustainable public transport.”