Grayson Thermal Systems Managing Director Stuart Hateley has called for more local content to be factored into the West Midlands’ move towards zero-emission buses.
Mr Hateley, who has led the Tyseley-based business since 2009, has called on local MPs and the West Midlands Combined Authority to come together with industry to find a way of ensuring that more of the zero-emission vehicles destined for the region’s roads have locally made components.
While welcoming work to transition the West Midlands’ bus fleet towards a zero-emission future, he has pointed out that the area has “a lot of skills and technology already established.” Mr Hateley adds: “I would love to see [Mayor] Andy Street and local MPs get behind this, maybe in the shape of a taskforce that also gets manufacturers and academia on board.
“Get this right and it potentially could create thousands of high-skilled jobs locally, which will pour revenue back into the coffers of the treasury.”
The supplier has seen strong business as it bounces back from the pandemic after securing orders worth more than £8m from customers including ABB, Skoda, Solaris and Wrightbus. Grayson’s new Battery Thermal Management System has proved popular with the core bus market and the supplier is expanding into other sectors.
In addition, Grayson recently secured a deal to supply up to 400 heating, ventilation and air-conditioning units for battery-electric buses that will operate in Ireland.
“If we are involved in these electrification projects from the outset, then we can build technology and expertise that can not only be used to attract future investment in the UK, but could also be exported across the world,” adds Mr Hateley.
“It is not a case that we should be handed these contracts on a plate. We have to be competitive, skilled and deliver a solution that works. That’s the bottom line.
“We are doing everything possible to ensure that our zero-emission vehicle innovation is designed for manufacture at the right price point to be commercially viable. However, it wouldn’t hurt for our government and local authorities to explore ways where any public funding is spent with one eye on supporting the local supply chain.”