First Bus and Openreach announce new partnership


FIRST BUS and Openreach have announced a collaboration giving the latter access to Electric Vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure at Aberdeen’s First Bus depot.

The Granite City is initially one of three UK cities that will witness up to 30 Openreach EVs plug into charging points at depots while buses are in service. Glasgow and Leicester are also rolling out the initial phase of the partnership.

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The EV infrastructure, which is already shared with DPD and Police Scotland, aligns with First’s ambition of reaching a zero-emission fleet by 2035.

Faizan Ahmad, Decarbonisation Programme Director at First Bus, said: “We’re excited about this collaboration, showcasing the power of teamwork to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality in the communities we serve. The shift to electric is a journey for businesses nationwide, and we are offering a smart, community-friendly solution that’s simple, effective, and benefits everyone.”

Openreach has its own ambitions to convert its diesel fleet to zero emissions by 2031, with more than 3000 EVs currently in its fleet.

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 is 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.” 

Andrew Kirkby, Head of Fleet Sustainability at BT Group, added: “We are constantly looking at new options that can help us the transition of one of the largest commercial fleets in the UK to electric vehicles, which will be vital to achieving our goal of being a carbon net-zero business by March 2031. Enabling UK-wide charging infrastructure will be a key part of how we achieve this, and we welcome trials that will help accelerate the removal of diesel vehicles from our fleet.”

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