First Bus places one of UK’s largest EV bus orders with Wrightbus

  • First Bus has placed one of the UK's largest Electric Vehicle (EV) bus orders with NI manufacturer Wrightbus.

    The £81m order, totalling 193 buses, is the largest EV bus purchase outside of London and will see new zero emission buses being rolled out across England from March 2023.

    First Bus will invest £43m in the new vehicles and will be supported to complete the electric fleet project with a £38m grant from the DfT.

    The order follows successful bids with Local Authorities as part of the Department for Transport’s Zero Emission Bus Regional Area funding scheme.

    First Bus has worked closely with five Local Authority partners to secure the funding, which helps to bridge the gap between the cost of a Euro VI diesel bus and the EV equivalent as well as the relevant infrastructure costs necessary to charge the vehicles.

    RELATED: Wrightbus announces agreement for 800 electric buses

    The order will be split between five areas; Leicester (68 buses), York (44 Buses), Leeds (32 Buses), Norwich (15 Buses) and Portsmouth (34 Buses).

    Each regional project will be completed over the course of the next two years. This means that First Bus will have over 500 EV buses in operation in what is a huge leap forward towards their pledge of an entirely zero emission fleet by 2035.

    The new EV buses will be fully built in Northern Ireland at the Wrightbus facility in Ballymena in a significant boost for the UK economy and the manufacturing sector.

    This latest partnership between First Bus and Wrightbus comes following the successful rollout of the world’s first double-decker Hydrogen buses in Aberdeen in 2020.

    RELATED: Wrightbus lands German deal for up to 60 hydrogen buses

    As one of the UK’s largest bus operators, First Bus will also work with the Ballymena-based bus builder to help upskill current and new engineers alike to help take their people on this decarbonisation journey with them. This will allow First Bus and Wrightbus to create new green jobs, as well as enhancing skill sets for existing staff.

    Speaking about the order, First Bus UK, Managing Director, Janette Bell, said: “We are absolutely delighted to place our largest ever Zero Emission Vehicle order and to do so with a UK manufacturer. Wrightbus have a really exciting product that we feel will enhance the customer experience at the same time as benefiting the environment.”

    Ben Werth, Chief Commercial Officer at Wrightbus, also commented: "This is another significant deal for Wrightbus - the largest zero emissions bus order outside of London - and we are delighted to once again be partnering with First Bus in the drive to zero-emission public transport. First Bus, like us, is consistently on the forefront of new and exciting technology and at the forefront of zero- and low-emission travel.”

    He added: “All of the buses - the GB Kite Electroliner BEV and the StreetDeck Electroliner BEV, which is the world's most efficient double decker battery-electric bus - will be manufactured and assembled at our Ballymena factory, which means support for jobs in NI, and wider across the UK through our domestic supply chain.” 

    Source: Written from press release.

    About the author

    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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