£54m ($75m) of UK Government funding has been allocated for next generation hydrogen-powered buses and electric trucks – a move that could secure nearly 10,000 jobs and save millions of tonnes of carbon emissions.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng today (22nd March) announced the funds that will support three projects in Cwmbran, Warwickshire and Ballymena, with hydrogen-powered bus manufacturer Wrightbus set to benefit from £11.2m ($15.5m) of the funds.
With its share of the new capital in Ballymena, Wrightbus will develop and manufacture low-cost hydrogen fuel cell technology for buses and create a hydrogen centre of excellence in the Northern Ireland town.
In Warwickshire, £11.3m ($15.6m) will be used to develop and manufacturing energy saving technology from motorsport for use in cars and vans, and in Cwmbran, £13.9m ($19.2m) will be used to develop electric propulsion systems for heavy goods vehicles.
The funding announcement builds on the recent launch of the Government’s national Bus Back Better strategy and the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, both of which aim to accelerate the shift towards zero emission vehicles.
Commenting on the efforts, Transport Minister Rachel Maclean, said, “As we look to reduce our carbon emissions, strive towards our net-zero goals and level up right across the UK, the whole transport sector will need to embrace new innovative technology such as green hydrogen and these projects are a fantastic example of doing just that.”
“I’m proud to see the UK leading the way in the global transition to zero emission vehicles. In the next decade, we’ll continue to be at the forefront of their design, manufacture and use as we build back greener.”
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Brandon Lewis, added, “Northern Ireland and the local economy thrives on innovation, manufacturing and technological advancements, leading the charge in allowing us to reach our ambitious goal of a net zero future by 2050.”
“With a landmark investment of £11.2m ($15.5m) this will enable Wrightbus to become a centre of excellence for zero-emission technology in the heart of Ballymena. This is outstanding news for the people of Northern Ireland, protecting more than 1,000 skilled jobs and creating more than 3,000 additional jobs over the next 10 years.”
“This will continue to level up our local economy, allowing Wrightbus to continue producing the next generation of world-leading hydrogen buses.”
By investing in new, greener technology for the UK automotive sector, funding of this kind will help realise the government’s ambition for the UK to end its contribution to climate change by 2050.