Hitachi and FirstGroup deliver 1,000 new bus batteries

Hitachi ZeroCarbon has partnered with FirstGroup on the latter’s bus fleet and infrastructure decarbonisation programme, to provide batteries for an electric bus fleet.

The partnership will see up to £10m cash investment each from Hitachi and FirstGroup, supporting the acquisition of 1,000 batteries. 

In addition, under the agreement, Hitachi ZeroCarbon will provide its Battery Charging and Management Services (BCMS) for 1,000 buses powered by the new batteries as well as a further commitment of 500 vehicles beyond 2026. 

This will allow FirstGroup to optimise bus battery efficiency and cost, likely resulting in lower future capital deployment by extending the batteries’ useful bus life beyond their initial eight-year OEM warranty periods, at zero lease cost, it said.

Through smart charging, battery management and dynamic energy management, First Bus, also hopes to see improved energy use. 

Alistair Dormer, Executive Vice President and Executive Officer, General Manager of Green Energy & Mobility Strategy Planning Division, Hitachi said: “Hitachi is committed to becoming a climate change innovator. We continuously strive for growth through collaboration and co-creation with our partners and customers, and this specific partnership enables us to use our innovative technologies and global expertise to help decarbonise fleets efficiently, discover untapped revenue streams, and maximise the residual value of assets.”

Graham Sutherland, FirstGroup Chief Executive Officer said: “The pioneering alliance with Hitachi is a major strategic partnership for the Group as we progress towards our ambitious 2035 decarbonisation target for our bus fleet. It will allow us to continue the electrification of our fleet and depots with increased efficiency and greater visibility of our financial commitment, and unlike other possible arrangements, we will retain much of the residual value in the batteries as they are taken off our buses.

“Looking ahead, we are also excited about the possibilities for future value creation as Hitachi ZeroCarbon delivers market leading decarbonisation solutions to transport operators worldwide, leveraging our joint experience.”

Image from FirstGroup

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