Ballymena bus maker Wrightbus is to double production next year as demand for its zero emissions vehicles soars.
The company said it will manufacture 600 buses in 2022, more than two thirds of which will be from its zero emissions range, including the world’s first hydrogen double decker bus and 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 and just 30% were zero emissions.
The rush to meet tightening emission targets by governments around the world has played in Wrightbus’s favour since the company was bought out of administration in 2019 by the heir to the JCB empire Jo Bamford.
Under his guidance the business has seemingly flourished, developing its hydrogen and other zero emission models at speed.
The company claims that since the launch of its hydrogen bus – known as the Streetdeck Hyrdoliner – it has prevented over 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions compared to the diesel-powered version of the bus, the equivalent of taking more than 230 cars off the road for a year.
Buta Atwal, Chief Executive of Wrightbus, said the ambitious plans are good news for workers and the wider economy at the Ballymena plant.
“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,” he said. “Wrightbus believes that hydrogen fuel cell buses, manufactured in Ballymena, can and should be used and powered across the UK and Ireland.
|Hydrogen powered Streetdeck Hyrdoliner|
“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.”
|Battery powered Streetdeck Electroliner|
Mr Atwal was speaking as Northern Ireland’s first minister visited the plant.
“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.”