Athlone is getting Ireland’s first all-electric bus service

20 Jan 2023

Image: © THINK b/

The new electric fleet is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 400,000kg a year and is the first of 35 transport projects under the Government’s Pathfinder programme.

Ireland’s first all-electric bus service is launching in the midwest region this month, with 11 new buses for Athlone’s depot.

The new service includes a reconfiguration of the depot, with the installation of chargers and an electricity substation to power the electric bus fleet. The installation of the charging infrastructure was carried out by ESB Smart Energy Services.

The new fleet is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by 400,000kg a year, while bringing a quieter bus service for Athlone and the thousands of passengers that use the depot weekly.

The service is due to commence on 29 January and will be operated by Bus Éireann. Work began on upgrading the site last year and included a €10m investment from the National Transport Authority.

The Athlone project is the first to launch under the Government’s Pathfinder programme, which includes 34 more transport projects to be launched across Ireland over the next three years.

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan, TD, said the upcoming service is important as it’s a “sign of exciting things to come”.

“Driven by our new Climate Action Plan 2023, the future of Irish transport is on the cusp of radical change for the better,” Ryan said. “And that radical change will be driven by electricity – electric buses, electric cars, electric trains, powered for the most part by our own home-grown, cheaper renewable energy in the future.”

Bus Éireann said its drivers and mechanics have undergone a training programme of more than 500 hours on the driving, maintenance and operation of the new buses.

”We are excited to be operating the fleet, which will deliver a more modern, sustainable and comfortable service and provide an enhanced customer experience for passengers,” said Bus Éireann CEO Stephen Kent. “A smoother and quieter ride is welcome as is improved access for persons with reduced mobility.”

Earlier this week, the Government revealed its new strategy to spend €100m on public EV charging by 2025.

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic