Wrightbus and Volgren to produce hydrogen-electric buses

Australia’s largest bus body manufacturer Volgren has signed a technology deal to bring the UK’s Wrightbus’s hydrogen fuel cell powertrain to Australia.

The two companies will manufacture two zero-emission hydrogen single deck buses which will be the first European-Australian hydrogen combination in the country.

They hope the vehicles will demonstrative an alternative to battery electric buses which are increasingly entering service as operators move towards net-zero emissions.

The hydrogen powertrains will be built in the Wrightbus Ballymena factory in Northern Ireland and use the same technology developed by Wrightbus to launch its world-first zero-emission StreetDeck Hydroliner double deck and GB Kite Hydroliner single deck buses.

Since first entering passenger service in 2020, StreetDeck Hydroliners have clocked up a million miles, preventing 1,700 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere on those bus journeys. No harmful emissions are emitted from the vehicles, with water vapour being the only emission.

The Wrightbus-Volgren buses are expected to be ready for trial in the first few months of 2023, and offer the potential for export.

Volgren’s CEO Thiago Deiro said the partnership with Wrightbus would bring the world’s leading hydrogen chassis technology to Australia.

Deiro said: “We are confident the partnership will help speed up the deployment of hydrogen buses in Australia.

“Wrightbus (uses) similar body technology to Volgren, namely bolted extruded aluminium profiles.

“This shared expertise and understanding is one of the many aspects of the partnership that we think will make it a success.”

Previously Volgren has launched Battery Electric Buses.

Wrightbus CEO Buta Atwal said: “Like us, Volgren is always on the cutting edge of new and emerging technology to drive the industry forwards.

“There are some fantastic parallels between the two companies and we’re looking forward to a long and successful working relationship.”

Atwal said this would be the first time the company had exported its powertrain technology and marked the company’s entrance into the Australian market.

“We know from our extensive experience the significant part hydrogen can play in the decarbonisation of public transport and we believe the scope for uptake across the Australian market is huge as the country makes the vital switch to zero-emission vehicles.

“We’re excited to be in from the start.”

Picture: Volgren

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