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Wrightbus wins cross-border electric bus contract that could be worth up to €560m

Of the first 120 vehicles, 100 are intended for Dublin Bus and the rest for Limerick

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Streetdeck Electroliner BEVs made by Wrightbus

Streetdeck Electroliner BEVs made by Wrightbus

Streetdeck Electroliner BEVs made by Wrightbus

The Irish Government tapped Ballymena bus manufacturer Wrightbus for a deal worth a potential €562m to buy up to 800 battery electric buses – a contract it has been claimed reflects the benefits of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) announced it is ordering 120 double-deck battery electric buses from Wrightbus for €80.4m.

Sinn Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald said the cross-border contract reflected the benefits of the protocol. It was announced as the UK prepared to reveal legislation intended to help it override elements of the trading agreement it concluded with the EU in 2019.

The 120 buses are the first instalment in a planned deal between the NTA and Wrightbus for 800 zero-emission vehicles over the next five years.

The Streetdeck Electroliner BEVs will be made and built at Wrightbus at Galgorm, Ballymena and will be the first battery electric double-deck buses to join the Irish fleet.

The NTA said the deal could potentially become the single-biggest bus procurement deal in the history of the State. If all 800 buses are ordered from Wrightbus, the entire deal could be worth €562m on the basis of the price of the first order.

Of the first 120 vehicles, 100 are intended for Dublin Bus and the rest for Limerick. The remainder could be used in other parts of Ireland such as Cork, Galway and Waterford.

The first buses will hit the road in 2023, and all will be decked out in Transport For Ireland’s green, white and yellow livery.

Neil Collins, managing director of Wrightbus, 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.”

Transport Minister Eamon Ryan welcomed the deal with Wrightbus. “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.

“I welcome today’s announcement and look forward to seeing cleaner and greener buses in operation in our cities”.

Ian Paisley, the DUP’s MP for North Antrim, said: “I am delighted that today Wrightbus has secured one of the biggest bus-building contracts ever agreed in Ireland with its transport authority. This is wonderful news for the company and for the workforce whose commitment to excellence is obvious.

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“Such orders only come about because of hard work and the best product. The Wrightbus transport solutions are the right product for the time and are now part of the mainstay of transport solutions in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Germany, Australia and elsewhere."

Sinn Féin East Derry MLA Caoimhe Archibald said the major contract is also “a vote of confidence in the skills and expertise of the local workforce”.

“This is a game changer for businesses like Wrightbus which had recently secured an order for 60 hydrogen buses from Germany and has now secured a contract worth £69m.”

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph last year, Jo Bamford, executive chairman of Wrightbus, said the dual market access afforded to Northern Ireland under the protocol was an advantage.

“It’s a great place to work with great engineers, hardworking people, and it’s connected to two large markets.”


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