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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Wrightbus receives slice of £50M government funding towards development of hydrogen coaches

A blue coach and green coach on road under blue skies

Pioneering bus manufacturer Wrightbus has received a slice of £50 million government funding towards developing zero-emission hydrogen fuel-cell electric coaches.

The Northern Ireland-based business has been awarded up to £534,000 as part of its continued movement towards decarbonising public transport across the globe. 

Coaches are an integral part of the public transport network, with over 30,000 diesel coaches operating across the UK and Ireland. 

Wrightbus is looking to tackle this difficult to decarbonise sector by developing, testing and validating an innovative hydrogen fuel-cell powertrain.

The company is leading the way in technological advances in hydrogen fuel-cell buses, and has developed world-leading efficient electric power trains, used for both hydrogen and battery electric powered single and double-deck buses.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO of Wrightbus, said:

“We are at the forefront of zero-emission technology and have a tremendous reputation for our fleet, both battery electric and hydrogen fuel-cell buses.

“On the back of developing the world’s first double deck hydrogen bus, we are keen to develop a hydrogen electric power train demonstrator for the coach sector to further decarbonise another part of the transport industry.

“Decarbonisation options for the coach sector are extremely limited, with hydrogen fuel-cell technology considered to be the most viable choice.”

In total, over £50 million of government funding has been awarded to 30 manufacturing projects including rapid-charging motorcycles and self-driving cars, cementing the UK as the best location in the world to manufacture.

The funding will boost the UK’s innovation of clean, green technologies, helping to create jobs and grow the economy.

As part of this, £11 million of government grant funding through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) is being awarded to 12 fast-start projects put forward by businesses, including Wrightbus. With industry match-funding, projects will receive a total of £22.7 million to develop innovative automotive products within 12 months.

Ian Constance, CEO of APC, said:

“The successful applicants all have fantastic proposals that now have the green flag to kick-start. In just 12 months we will see the fruits of this £22.7 million investment from both industry and government. 

“Given the success of the previous round, the dozen projects we’ve funded today will be ones to keep an eye on when they are delivered next year.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt said:

“From farm tractors fuelled by hydrogen to rapid-charge first responder motorcycles, these projects receiving funding today show we are not short of innovators in this country.

“By supporting growth in the industries of the future, including through better regulation, we are delivering on our plan to get the economy growing and make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business.”


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