Wrightbus, the Northern Ireland-based bus manufacturer, has received an order from the National Transport Authority (NTA) for 120 double-decker battery-electric buses. These 120 buses are part of a framework agreement which provides for the procurement of up to 800 zero-emission battery-electric buses over five years. This will be a real game changer when it comes a zero emission network of buses.
This initial order for 120 buses represents an €80.4 million investment, with 100 heading to Dublin Bus while the remaining 20 will be going to Bus Éireann. Commissioning and training activities will get underway later this year, as will work on installing the necessary charging infrastructure. The first buses are expected to enter passenger service in 2023.
This order of up to 800 buses is for Wrightbus’ Streetdeck Electroliner. These will be manufactured and assembled at the company’s facility in Galgorm, on the outskirts of Ballymena in Northern Ireland.
The StreetDeck Electroliner has a maximum power of 454kW, the highest battery capacity for a UK double-decker bus. This provides it with a leading range of up to 200 miles (322km) and a fast charge time of just 2.5 hours ensures longer journeys with fewer refuelling breaks.
Neil Collins, Wrightbus managing director, said: “We are extremely proud of this historic deal, which is hugely significant for Ireland’s decarbonisation ambitions and for us here at Wrightbus.
“This deal further cements the reputation we have built in the zero-emission sector and follows hot on the heels of historic deals in Australia and Germany. This shows our ambition to be at the forefront of the zero emission drive in cities, towns and rural areas across the world.”
The framework agreement now in place between the NTA and Wrightbus has the potential to be the single biggest bus procurement in the history of the State. These will be the first battery-electric double-deck buses to be added to the national bus fleet in Ireland and their addition will deliver a significant uplift in the proportion of low or zero-emission buses within that fleet.
Eamon Ryan, Minister for Transport of Ireland, said: “We know that decarbonising transport is imperative, as part of our effort to tackle climate change. Public transport because it is shared mobility is already a far more sustainable and economical way of getting around.
“Going electric will reduce the carbon footprint of our public transport fleet, and will help us reach our long-term climate goals, as outlined in the Climate Action Plan. These new electric buses will also help reduce air pollution, improve public health and improve access to public transport for people of all abilities”
Anne Graham, National Transport Authority CEO, said: “The transition to a zero-emission bus fleet is a central component of our BusConnects project, and the procurement of these battery-electric buses represents a key milestone in that process.
“There is no doubt that people are looking to us to provide better, more sustainable transport alternatives in all areas, and it is incumbent on us as an Authority to respond to that demand in a positive way. In so doing, we will reduce the need for personal vehicles, making the quality of the air we breathe healthier for everyone.
“When it comes to taking climate action, we in the NTA want to play our part and we want to lead by example. We are doing that by transitioning our public transport fleet away from fossil fuel to zero emission technologies and as you see we are making real progress.”