Community Transport Glasgow

PROJECT: Creating an infrastructure for a minibus fleet

Challenge: Community Transport Glasgow is on a mission to replace their ageing minibus fleet with an electric alternative and ZCF were commissioned to support that transition.

What we did:

Community Transport Glasgow is a social enterprise that provides transport solutions to the communities of Glasgow and East Dunbartonshire. The organisation transports 75,000 passengers each year in over 132,000 journeys.

The ageing fleet is in need of replacement and mindful of their environmental impact made a decision to investigate moving to a fully electric fleet. The organisation currently operates 16 vehicles and an analysis undertaken by Energy Saving Trust Scotland concluded that 13 of those vehicles operate within a daily range capable of switching to electric. The team bid and secured funding of £900,000 to support this move. They will be one of the first community transport schemes in the UK to go electric.

CTG commissioned ZCF in 2019 to undertake a feasibility study for the necessary charging infrastructure to charge the vehicles. As new vehicles on the market (the Orion-E), ZCF initially had to understand the type of infrastructure required for optimum charging. We analysed journey patterns to understand the back-at-base patterns and identify the most appropriate charging mechanisms. From here we looked at charger type and quantity to provide a specification to input into a further EST infrastructure bid.

We also undertook a thorough analysis of the public infrastructure to help to identify where appropriate charging could take place away from the base. We concluded that CTG could make significant cost savings by doing so but also worked with CTG to help them to understand the feasibility of including public charging into their daily operations.

The project has not been without its challenges. An initial survey showed, as expected, that the CTG base did not have the necessary electrical capacity and a more detailed DNO survey concluded that the cost for a new sub-station was significant. The team are now looking for other depot options for their fleet. In the meanwhile, we have worked with CTG on an interim solution to charge their vehicles for when they take initial delivery.

Next steps:

The project is currently ongoing. The next stage of the project is to oversee infrastructure delivery and installation as well as providing EV awareness training to drivers.

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