WRIGHTBUS | What a difference - two years on and the future is bright!
Wrightbus completes UK-first tour as Jo Bamford marks two years of ownership
Wrightbus has completed a tour of the UK with its world-first hydrogen double decker as the firm marks two years since being bought out of administration by green entrepreneur Jo Bamford.
A Wrightbus Hydroliner was the star of the show in The UK Hydrogen Roadshow - a partnership between bus manufacturer Wrightbus, RYZE Hydrogen and hydrogen production company INEOS.
The roadshow - the first of its kind in the UK - saw the bus travel a 600-mile route as it made its way from London to Glasgow ahead of the UN’s climate conference, COP26.
It stopped at businesses along the way to highlight the potential that low-carbon hydrogen fuel has to play in various industries, including aviation, construction, heating and transport. Its journey ended at Jordanhill School, in Glasgow, where pupils learned all about hydrogen and its potential to help prevent climate change.
In just two short years, bus builder Wrightbus has gone from facing complete collapse to leading the world with its groundbreaking zero emission vehicles.
Wrightbus has launched four zero emission buses in the past year alone, with its world-first hydrogen double decker, the Hydroliner, quickly followed by its first EV double decker, the Electroliner. Both buses now also have a single deck equivalent - the GB Kite Electroliner and the GB Kite Hydroliner, making Wrightbus the only UK manufacturer to have four zero emission buses on the market.
When Mr Bamford took the helm in October 2019, only 56 staff remained in the business. Just two years on, and largely thanks to its new zero emission products, Wrigtbus is now on track to have more than 900 staff over the next few months once its latest recruitment drive is complete.
Mr Bamford said: “We’re incredibly proud of what has been achieved in 24 months, and it’s largely thanks to the hard work and determination of the staff in Ballymena who have helped not only to get the business back on its feet, but to transform it into a profitable world-leading zero emission bus builder.
“We’re playing a vital part in the decarbonisation of the transport sector, creating green jobs as we go and bolstering the economy in Northern Ireland and further afield. We’ve made great strides in research and innovation to help ensure the UK is well placed to reach its net zero targets.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson joins Jo Bamford in Westminister during the Hydrogen UK road show tour.
“The future of the firm is incredibly bright - and that’s not something people would have believed could be possible to say two years ago. We have a very healthy order book and we believe that over the next 12 months, we will be increasing production shifts to increase our capacity to ensure we can keep up with demand.
“We now need to make sure the UK government supports the wider push to have a fleet of thousands of zero emission buses up and down the country over the next few years - with the necessary infrastructure to support them.
“Completing The UK Hydrogen Roadshow was a great achievement and we were able to shine a spotlight on some fantastic hydrogen innovations, but the tour also highlighted the current lack of hydrogen infrastructure across the country - and that’s exactly what we need to ensure the sector is able to grow at pace.”