New asset finance company launched by green pioneer Bamford

Jo Bamford says FUZE is ‘complete solution’ to fund zero-emission buses.

Wrightbus owner Jo Bamford has launched an asset finance company which he said offers a “complete solution” to fund zero-emission buses.

He said FUZE would help operators get more buses on the roads “in the race to net zero”.

Wrightbus, which celebrates its 75th birthday this year, launched new battery electric bus the Electroliner in June.

The Ballymena firm said it was the first business in the world to have both hydrogen and battery-electric vehicles in production, with buses running all across the UK. 

FUZE has now been set up to offer funding for zero-emission vehicles, including on the vehicles themselves, infrastructure, hydrogen or electric fuel, and a repair and maintenance package.

The company is led by Ben Werth, a former director in charge of asset finance at bus and coach firm Mistral Group with 26 years of experience in the bus industry. 

Mr Werth said: “Jo and everyone who works at Wrightbus know that government grants alone are not enough for bus operators to meet their own publicly stated zero emission targets.

“There are many moving parts within the transition to net zero. To achieve this a collaborative partnership approach between manufacturers, funders and bus operators is required.

“FUZE, by being a specialised zero-emission focused asset finance company, is an integral part of this process.

“The industry is on the cusp of vital change and when the chance came to be part of this, I knew I couldn’t turn down such an opportunity.”

Mr Werth said FUZE would combine every part of the bus operational costs into a fixed monthly cost.

“Working in collaboration with sister companies RYZE hydrogen and Wrightbus we have developed a total cost of ownership model encompassing the infrastructure, vehicle, fuel and R&M fleet maintenance for the duration of the contract and then distilling this down into a single fixed monthly cost,” he said.

“This is available across the entire Wrightbus range of fuel cell electric vehicle and battery electric vehicle buses, single or double deck, over varying lengths of contracts dependent on the operators’ requirements.

“This is a unique offer within the public transport sector .”

He added: “Combining all these costs together is unique within our sector —  it really is as exciting as asset finance can get.”

Last month three zero-emission hydrogen double deck Wrightbus vehicles took to the streets of Dublin, backed by the National Transport Authority and Bus Éireann.

And three Goldliners manufactured by Wrightbus are among low emission buses being added by Translink to its fleet in Belfast.

Translink has said it aims to operate a zero emissions fleet across NI by 2040 and added its first hydrogen-fuel cell double decks from Wrightbus to its fleet in December last year.

This month marks the second anniversary of the administration of Wrightbus, when it went bust under the ownership of the Wright family with debts of around £60m and the loss of 1,200 jobs.

However, it was bought over by Mr Bamford two months later and now employs around 600 people.

“Jo and everyone who works at Wrightbus know that government grants alone are not enough for bus operators to meet their own publicly stated zero emission targets.”
Ben Werth
FUZE

 

Publisher – Belfast Telegraph

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