Shadow minister praises bus manufacturer Wrightbus for green energy innovation
Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Kyle visited groundbreaking zero-emissions bus manufacturer Wrightbus to hear how the company is playing its part in the decarbonisation of public transport across the UK and Ireland.
Mr Kyle was given the opportunity to tour the Ballymena factory and hear about the technologies used in delivering zero-emission buses, including the world’s first hydrogen double deck bus and the world’s most efficient battery electric double deck.
He also met with members of Wrightbus’s senior management team including newly-appointed Chief Executive Jean-Marc Gales, a seasoned executive in the global automotive industry.
Mr Kyle is MP for Hove and later this year Brighton & Hove Buses will have 20 Wrightbus hydrogen vehicles in operation on its Metrobus Fastway route 10 serving Crawley, Gatwick Airport and Horley.
Wrightbus is leading the way in technological advances in hydrogen fuel cell buses, and has developed world-leading efficient electric power trains, used for hydrogen and battery electric powered buses.
Mr Kyle said: “Northern Ireland has huge potential to be at the forefront of the green transition and visiting Wrightbus’s Ballymena factory was an electrifying experience.
“Companies like Wrightbus show the value of green jobs to the local and wider economy. Their hydrogen buses have already made the journey to Sussex and beyond.
“Labour has a mission to make the United Kingdom a clean energy superpower and create hundreds of thousands of quality jobs across the country.”
Wrightbus launched its first zero-emission bus - the Streetdeck Hydroliner - in 2020 in Aberdeen, with the fleet entering passenger service in January 2021.
It is also behind the world’s most efficient double deck electric bus - the Streetdeck Electroliner, as well as single deck battery electric and hydrogen electric buses.
Earlier this year, it announced plans to develop a green hydrogen production facility at its factory in Ballymena.
The proposal is being made in partnership with a sister company, Hygen Energy, and the new facility would help create a reliable source of fuel for those buses and other hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Mr Gales said: “We were delighted to be able to share with the shadow secretary our vision and plans for the business and what this means for Northern Ireland and the wider UK.
“Wrightbus has a clear plan in place to increase the ease and affordability of zero-emission buses.
“We know from our vast expertise and experience the significant part our technologies can play in the decarbonisation of public transport across the UK and Ireland.
“We are at the forefront of hydrogen and zero-emission technology and, as such, continue to explore and invest in new opportunities to develop this sector.”
2023 has been hugely successful so far for Wrightbus following a string of new orders including 48 buses for Stagecoach for use in London and 117 vehicles for First Bus across the UK.