Stagecoach West Scotland unveiled its fleet of 27 fully electric buses at an official launch event today (20 February) at the historic Robert Burns Birthplace – Burns Cottage.
This major investment of around £15.7 million sees 25 Volvo BZL single-deck buses, the first to operate in the UK added to the West Scotland electric fleet. In addition, two Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) BYD single-deck buses will be introduced, taking the total ADL fleet to 17.
Local communities will benefit from 48 electric buses being used on local routes around Ayrshire as the operator makes significant progress toward reducing its emissions and air pollution.
At the launch, guests, including Siobhian Brown MSP were able to get a first glance at the new electric buses and chatted with employees from Stagecoach about this revolution in bus technology.
Stagecoach West Scotland Managing Director Fiona Doherty said: “This is an exciting day for Stagecoach as we launch our new fleet of electric buses, which will serve communities in Ayr, Kilmarnock and Irvine with zero-emission public transport. This multimillion-pound investment is part of our strategy to decarbonise our fleet and bring state-of-the-art bus travel to our customers in the urban areas we serve. Bus travel is one of the greenest forms of transport available and we encourage everyone to leave their cars at home and try our new electric buses.”
Stagecoach welcomed the investment in new electric buses for Ayrshire, supported by the Scottish Government’s Zero Emission Bus Challenge Fund (ScotZEB).
Minister for Transport Jenny Gilruth said: “With this significant introduction of 27 new electric buses, Stagecoach continues to demonstrate a real commitment to help meet Scotland’s world leading climate change targets.
“I’m pleased that the Scottish Government has been able to support the ambitions of Stagecoach West Scotland, as part of our Mission Zero for Transport, by providing £8 million through our Scottish Zero Emission Bus Scheme. This is in addition to a further 25 electric buses introduced by Stagecoach for Inverness, supported with £5.8 million in funding support from government.
“Choosing bus is already a fantastic choice for our environment. Zero emission buses offer even more benefits. Communities across Ayrshire will benefit from improved air quality and reduced noise pollution, helping more people to choose bus.”
The launch is part of Stagecoach’s drive to target a net zero UK bus fleet by 2035. The bus operator has invested in installing 21 new charging stations during recent upgrades to their Kilmarnock and Ayr depots.
Set to hit the roads in March 2023, locals living in Ayr, Kilmarnock and Irvine can experience the latest electric bus technology. The buses will operate from morning to night on a single daily charge with no engine noise or emissions. The state-of-the-art fleet offers the best facilities, including USB charging points, app, and contactless onboard payment.
Domenico Bondi, Managing Director of Volvo Bus UK & Ireland, explains: “Stagecoach West Scotland is a prestigious UK launch customer for the new Volvo BZL Electric. They know precisely what they want from an OEM partner, and they expect a strategic-level supplier to understand their needs and support their long-term goals, with a focus on sustainability, safety, reliability and passenger comfort.
“It’s a terrific order to win, and we are confident these new vehicles will perform fantastically well across Ayrshire, providing a solid platform for sustainable and efficient public transport.”
The new electric buses will reduce Stagecoach’s net carbon impact by 1,433 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) per year compared to like-for-like diesels.
If only 10 people, who would travel 8,000 miles per year by car swapped to the new all-electric buses, the carbon footprint would reduce further by approximately 602 tCO2e per year.
Marie Connell, National Account Manager at Alexander Dennis, said: “We are delighted to continue to support Stagecoach as it transitions to a zero-emission bus fleet across Scotland. Our BYD ADL Enviro200EV midibuses are a great fit for services in Ayrshire, with 15 already in service in Kilmarnock joined by a further pair of buses now. Customers will love the smooth acceleration, air conditioning and comfortable Alexander Dennis SmartSeats, while drivers will benefit from a familiar vehicle. Thanks to the Scottish Government’s support through ScotZEB, these buses have helped to underpin skilled jobs and apprenticeships in the UK bus manufacturing industry.”
Stagecoach is on target for a zero-emission UK bus fleet by 2035 and has introduced new electric buses across many parts of the country, including one of Europe’s biggest investments in e-buses in Manchester. A further 159 new electric buses will be introduced in 2023, including those in Inverness, bringing the total to 343.
The Scottish Government has set a legally binding target to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2045. Transport has a critical role to play in the economy reaching net zero, as rising car use has resulted in a rise in carbon emissions from the sector.