Ballymena’s Wrightbus to double production next year
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Wrightbus is set to almost double production next year to meet the soaring demand for its zero emissions vehicles.
The Ballymena-based firm will manufacture 600 buses in 2022, more than two thirds of which will be hydrogen powered and electric, including the world’s first hydrogen double decker bus and the Electroliner – the fastest-charging EV double decker on the market.
That is a significant swing from this year when 70% of the buses the company produced were diesel powered.
The company announced the ambitious plan during a visit to its Ballymena factory by First Minister Paul Givan.
Buta Atwal, Chief Executive of Wrightbus, said: “We were delighted to be able to share with the First Minister our vision and plans for Wrightbus to support the decarbonisation of public transport across the UK and Ireland on our journey towards net zero emissions.
“Next year, we will be producing around 600 buses – almost double the number we have produced in 2021 – which will go into service across the UK and the island of Ireland.
“We will also see a significant switch in our output from 70 per cent diesel buses in 2021 to around 70 per cent zero-emission buses in 2022. This is a fantastic endorsement of the UK Government’s, and our customers’ commitment to sustainable, environmentally friendly transport.”
“The Government has been clear that hydrogen plays a key role in the country’s net zero ambitions,” said Mr Atwal.
“Working at scale, Wrightbus has a clear plan in place to reduce the costs of the buses to be comparable to diesel for the total cost of ownership. Wrightbus believes that hydrogen fuel cell buses, manufactured in Ballymena, can and should be used and powered across the UK and Ireland.
“Not only will it secure and grow jobs at our factory in Ballymena, it will support the many other innovative businesses, supporting the growth of a hydrogen sector that will enable us to become a world leader in this low-carbon technology.”
Since the launch of the Streetdeck Hydroliner, Wrightbus has prevented over one million kilograms (1,000 tonnes) of harmful carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions entering the atmosphere for the journeys made compared to the diesel powered version of the bus – the equivalent of taking more than 230 cars off the roads for a whole year.
First Minister Paul Givan said:
“I have been hugely impressed by the vision of Wrightbus in working towards decarbonising the transport sector and it has been of great benefit to meet with the company at their plant and learn more about their ambitious and innovative plans.
“I was particularly pleased to hear how Wrightbus plan to increase production of zero emissions buses to around 70 per cent, bringing real and lasting change to the public transport sector.
“Wrightbus is hugely important to the local economy and an example of how Northern Ireland can produce world-leading technology.
“The buses and technology being developed in Ballymena are helping to lead the way globally and I want to commend Wrightbus for their ongoing drive to grow Northern Ireland’s hydrogen economy which will in turn secure and create green jobs at their factory in Ballymena.”
In August, Wrightbus announced it was creating up to 300 permanent jobs, and converting 120 existing temporary jobs into permanent positions, after winning a string of orders from the UK and Ireland.