Why the bus journey of the future must be zero emission 13/11/2020

Jo Bamford, Executive Chairman of Ryse Hydrogen and Wrightbus, writes our fourth ‘future of fuel’ blog about the role of hydrogen in creating zero emission transport.

Wrightbus designs and manufactures buses for the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland markets with an ongoing review of the European marketplace underway. Our product range covers all segments of the market from small and midi-sized buses to full-size single and double deckers.

We pressed ahead with the acquisition for Wrightbus in late 2019, with a simple vision – leadership in new zero emission buses that offer total cost of ownership that is comparable to alternatives. We’re proud to offer buses that cost, operate and perform the same way so that our customers, bus operators, can continue to focus on providing quality service on public transport networks, whilst using vehicles that are zero-emission.

We worked with experts in the field of hydrogen mobility – right from drivetrain engineers to cost consultants and supply chain partners – and concluded that between Wrightbus and Ryse Hydrogen, we had a combined offering that allowed cost parity at some scale. I have personally met with CEOs of major transport operators along with our teams to engage them as partners in our journey. We are working on innovative business models that breaks the initial barrier of high upfront investments in buses and fuelling infrastructure.

Adequate supply networks need to be in place to keep up with demand and it’s key we get the right refuelling infrastructure in place. On the supply side, my business Ryse Hydrogen is in active discussions with JV partners for setting up bulk scale green hydrogen production facilities to meet the anticipated demand in the coming years. We are aiming to develop c. 50 MW of electrolyser facilities in the next 24-36 months.

Cities around the world saw massive reductions in air pollution as many vehicles were kept off the road during the pandemic.

However, we’ve seen that the reality is that if we just go back to the same vehicles, levels of pollution quickly rise again to the same levels as before the crisis.

We have an opportunity with hydrogen-powered transport to make a huge difference not only to air quality, but for UK jobs as well.  The UK missed the opportunity to become global leaders in battery technology, we must not repeat this mistake with hydrogen, and it’s exciting that all three UK bus manufacturers produce a hydrogen bus – a fact that has been recognised by the Transport Secretary.

The Government has a real opportunity to back a sector that will create thousands of jobs, economic growth and allow us to claim the position as global leaders in hydrogen transport technology.

With countries across the world also looking to drastically cut their carbon emissions, let’s build an industry that can sell zero carbon products, skills and innovation across the world. We can make significant progress on this in the next five years, but it must start with buses and it must start now.