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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Zero-emission buses manufactured by Wrightbus to be rolled out across Hampshire

The single-deck GB Kite Electroliners, which have been built at Wrightbus’s Ballymena headquarters

A new fleet of zero-emission vehicles, manufactured by Northern Ireland-based Wrightbus, is being rolled out across Hampshire.

The new electric buses for First Bus South, operator of First Bus Solent, entered service this week in Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport, ushering in the region’s first zero-emissions buses.

They are the first of 62 buses which will be rolled over the coming weeks for passengers on several routes in the county. 

The single-deck GB Kite Electroliners, which have been built at Wrightbus’s Ballymena headquarters, mean cleaner air and quieter streets for local people.

Offering a smoother, more comfortable ride, on board they are fitted with all modern features, including USB charging points, and the latest accessibility features.

The £28.6m project to bring electric buses to the Solent region is due to a partnership with Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council which secured £12.7 million from government ZEBRA funding along with a £15.9 million investment from First Bus South.

Jean-Marc Gales, CEO at Wrightbus, said:

“We are delighted to be supporting First Bus South in the drive to transform transport in the region and help build a more sustainable future.

“First Bus South, like us, is at the forefront of new and exciting technology, and our partnership enhances the reputation we have forged in playing an important part in the UK’s ambitions for decarbonisation.

“We have great ambitions both in the UK and across Europe to have many more of our buses on the roads in the future.

“All of our buses have been built in Ballymena in Northern Ireland, lending further support to the wider regional economy and allowing us to create green jobs as we continue in our growth.”

The introduction of the new electric vehicles will mean that when all 62 buses are in service by the summer, nearly half of the total fleet operated by First Solent will be electric. 

The area where these new electric buses will be operating includes two Clean Air Zones (CAZ), so the arrival of the fleet will support both the environment and public health - helping to improve air quality, cut pollution and reduce carbon emissions. 

The buses will operate from First Solent’s Hoeford depot in Fareham, where works are taking place to support the infrastructure for charging and operation of the new electric fleet. 

Simon Goff, First Bus South’s Managing Director, said:

“So much hard work and planning has gone into getting us to this point and I’m so excited to see the EV first vehicles go out onto the roads to serve customers in Portsmouth, Fareham and Gosport.

“These vehicles offer significant environmental benefits as they emit zero tailpipe emissions, which means better air quality for local people. 

“What’s fantastic is that they’ll also improve the journey experience for our customers, providing a smoother, more comfortable ride. We hope that our passengers are as pleased with them as we are.”

Wrightbus has been at the forefront of the movement to decarbonise public transport across the UK and Ireland with the Electroliner alongside its world-first hydrogen double deck, the StreetDeck Hydroliner.


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