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First Bus and Openreach announce powerful new electric vehicle charging partnership

First Bus and Openreach announce powerful new electric vehicle charging partnership

First Bus has embarked on its biggest electric vehicle partnership to date in a milestone collaboration with the UK’s largest broadband network provider, Openreach, helping them carry out cleaner, greener journeys in Glasgow, Aberdeen and beyond. 

In this groundbreaking deal, Openreach will join DPD and Police Scotland as early movers plugging into this innovative shared infrastructure initiative from one of the UK’s largest bus operators.  

The initial phase of the partnership will witness up to 30 Openreach electric vehicles from its fleet charging at First Bus depots in Glasgow and Aberdeen while buses are in service. This enables Openreach engineers to cover more ground, reduce their environmental impact, and dedicate more time to the needs of their customers. 

As industry leader in the decarbonisation space, First Bus is keen to harness its EV infrastructure to help support local communities and businesses reach their own environmental aspirations. This commitment aligns with the bus operator’s own ambition of reaching a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035. 

Speaking at the launch of the partnership, Graeme Macfarlan, Commercial Director for First Bus Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be launching this new partnership with Openreach which demonstrates the power that comes from working together to reduce carbon emissions and improve the air quality in the communities we serve. 

 “As businesses across Scotland embark on the journey to electrify their fleets, it simply isn’t practical for every business to build its own charging infrastructure. We understand these challenges and are providing a smart solution that benefits the community and optimises space. It’s simple and effective – and everyone wins! 

“At First Bus, we are committed to delivering cleaner, greener journeys across our UK networks, not only through our own fleet but by working in partnership with businesses such as Openreach. We’d love to attract more businesses to charge up using our kit whilst our buses are out on the road.” 

Currently Openreach has more than 3,000 electric vehicles in its fleet – but it is aiming to convert all its diesel fleet to zero emissions by 2031 and proudly stands as a founding member of EV100, a global initiative uniting companies dedicated to accelerating the transition to electric vehicles this decade. 

Robert Thorburn, Openreach Scotland’s Partnership Director, said: “We are excited to try a new approach with First Bus that can potentially help both our businesses. As two major fleet operators in the UK, it makes sense for us to explore the most efficient ways to power up our electric vans and buses. 

“First Bus has made a massive investment in charging infrastructure and using their empty stations to juice up our vans will take pressure off public charge points. Our engineers often live in flats or apartments where charging is not yet an option, so this will make life easier for them too. 

“It’s all about learning and trying new, sustainable ways of working. There are many hurdles on the low carbon journey, and businesses need to join forces to overcome them, help drive wider adoption of electric vehicles and talk to government on issues like charging infrastructure availability.” 

Located on Glasgow's southside, First Bus’s Caledonia Depot has 160 state-of-the art, rapid-charging points, and this arrangement means the green potential of First Bus’s charging hub will be maximised while its own electric fleet is out in service.

First Bus is interested in hearing from businesses who wish to benefit from this partnership across its Caledonia, Scotstoun and Aberdeen sites.

Pictured: Robert Thorburn, Partnership Director, Openreach Scotland (second from left) and Graeme Macfarlan, Commercial Director, First Bus Scotland (second from right).

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