Today will see the official launch of Edinburgh’s first fully electric double decker buses, thanks to major funding from SP Energy Networks working in partnership with Lothian.
The £1.7million project was funded as a flagship project of SP Energy Networks’ £20million Green Economy Fund to enable Edinburgh to take a major step in its journey towards the city becoming Net Zero by 2030. These buses will bring immediate benefits to the city and the communities in which they operate, helping improve the city’s air quality and delivering multiple health benefits.
Lothian’s four brand new all-electric double decker buses will be introduced onto Service 10, which connects outlying parts of the city, Western Harbour and Bonaly with Edinburgh’s city centre.
The City of Edinburgh Council has committed to establish a Low Emission Zone (LEZ), reducing the carbon footprint of public transport and the new Lothian electric buses are a statement of intent for the city’s transport network. The launch of these buses will play a big part in the city’s green transport infrastructure.
Through the Green Economy Fund, SP Energy Networks is investing in the communities that it serves to support the UK and Scottish governments’ green energy ambitions. It also contributes to government plans to meet climate change targets, boost local economic growth, improve air quality across the country and deliver a better future, quicker for our communities.
SP Energy Networks is part of the ScottishPower group, a Principal Partner for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to be held in Glasgow in four months’ time. It is developing an energy model that will play a significant role towards reaching the UK’s world-leading climate change targets and is investing a total of £10billion in the clean energy generation and networks infrastructure needed to help the UK decarbonise and reach Net Zero emissions.
The new electric buses were built by Alexander Dennis, Britain’s biggest bus builder, at its Falkirk factory and will benefit from a smart management system which allows reduction in well-to-wheel greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption.
Transport Minister Graeme Dey, who attended the official launch of the new electric fleet at Dynamic Earth, said: “Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to declare a global climate emergency and with projects like this we continue to show our commitment to reducing emissions.
“As the country comes out of the pandemic and restrictions continue to ease, it is essential that our recovery is a green one, which has returning to public transport at its heart. This all-electric service is welcome news both for Edinburgh bus users and the environment.
“It’s also fantastic to see private sector organisations collaborate to tackle climate change. The funding from SP Energy Networks to support Lothian’s electric fleet with buses made in Falkirk is very much an initiative to be welcomed and encouraged.’’
Guy Jefferson, Chief Operating Officer at SP Energy Networks, said: “This is an historic moment in Edinburgh’s journey to Net Zero. The four new electric double decker buses will serve one of the busiest bus routes in the capital and provide a blueprint for other routes across the city.
“Edinburgh has ambitious plans to be a leading UK Net Zero emissions city by 2030 but for that to happen there needs to be big changes. The introduction of this new technology will improve air quality and noise pollution while supporting the city’s green recovery from the pandemic.
“We are committed to collaborating with government and industry to harness the knowledge, skills and resources we need to tackle climate change. Net Zero is now the prism through which we take all our business decisions. It’s one of the key drivers of our decision to become a Principal Partner of the COP26 global climate change conference, which is taking place in Scotland later this year.
“By working with our partners in Edinburgh and across Scotland through initiatives such as this we can deliver the cleaner, greener and better future we all want, quicker.”
Nigel Serafini, Interim Managing Director at Lothian Buses, said: “Across the last decade, Lothian has removed around 15,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from our carbon footprint through our fleet replacement strategies, and the introduction of Edinburgh’s first fully electric double decker buses allows us to continue on this journey, further reducing our impact on the environment.
“These new buses are fitted with the most advanced zero emissions technology and the introduction of these vehicles across our Service 10 further cements our commitment to meet the requirements of the Scottish Government and The City of Edinburgh Council’s climate change strategies.
“We’re delighted to have been able to partner with SP Energy Networks’ Green Economy Fund on this project and look forward to working with them again in the future.”
Transport and Environment Convener Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “This is a really exciting step forward for the city’s public transport network, and our own ambitions to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030. We want to make a green recovery from the pandemic and to do this we need to encourage more people to make sustainable transport choices. These buses offer a clean, reliable and environmentally-friendly alternative to the car.
“As we work towards the introduction of a Low Emission Zone in Edinburgh too, electric and other low emission buses will be essential for transporting people to the city centre while maintaining clean, breathable air.
“In the coming months we’ll be playing an important supporting role when Glasgow hosts the major COP26 climate change conference, and it’s innovations such as these that signal our firm commitment to tackling the climate emergency.”
The new vehicles also have USB charging points, on-board audio-visual next stop announcements and free Wi-Fi to provide a better overall customer experience.