Wrightbus jobs boost will build better hydrogen buses

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Thousands of jobs are to be created following the award of government funding that will allow Wrightbus to further develop hydrogen double and single decker buses.

World's first hydrogen powered bus (Image: Wrightbus/Aberdeen City Council)

Funding worth £11m will see around 3,000 jobs created at Wrightbus over the next decade alongside the development of a centre of excellence for zero-emission technology in Ballymena.

The money, announced by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, is part of a £54m investment being coordinated by The Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC).

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In 2020 Wrightbus launched the world's first fleet of hydrogen double decker buses in Aberdeen, with more planned for cities including Birmingham and London this year.

In a statement Wrightbus CEO Buta Atwal said: “The funding is a huge boost not just for Wrightbus, but for the people of Ballymena and the wider Northern Ireland economy. This money is vital to allow us to secure existing jobs and to build a stable future by creating thousands of new ones over the next decade. It is also the key as we look to help the UK achieve its net zero 2050 ambitions.

“It will allow us to create the next generation of hydrogen double and single decker buses at a larger scale and lower cost than ever before, as well as the creation of a zero-emmission centre of excellence in Ballymena that will not only positively impact the economy, but will benefit the UK and the world as we create leading new technology to drastically reduce CO2 levels.”

Further recipients of funding include Meritor in Cwmbran, Wales, which is developing lightweight electric powertrains for heavy goods vehicles in a £32m programme that will also see a new technology centre built in Scotland.

In Warwickshire, £11m has been committed through Shield Manufacturing Technologies to develop and manufacture an energy recovery system developed in motorsport and integrated with an e-axle and motor. This will reduce energy use in cars and vans in what APC described as a ‘transformational project’ for the UK’s production of motors and inverters.