Wrightbus eyes Australian export market with Volgren deal

Volgren Wrightbus deal

Wrightbus has today announced that it has signed a landmark deal with Australian bus body builder Volgren that could provide an antipodean export market for the UK manufacturer.

The partnership will see Wrightbus supplying Volgren with its NexGen hydrogen fuel cell-electric powertrain technology (the same drivetrain used for the StreetDeck Hydroliner double-deck and GB Kite Hydroliner single-deck buses) for the manufacture of two zero-emission single-deck buses.

According to Wrightbus CEO Buta Atwal this is the first time Wrightbus has exported its powertrain technology to a bus body manufacturer. The buses are also believed to represent the first joint European-Australian offerings in Australia. They are expected to be ready for trial in early 2023 and will form part of a push towards hydrogen fuel cell-electric power.

Wrightbus hope the Australian market will open up for further exports as the country looks set to ramp up the introduction of zero-emission vehicles over the coming decade.

“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,” says Mr Atwal. “This is the first time we’ve exported our powertrain technology to a bus body manufacturer, the first time we’ve entered the Australian market as a business, and the hydrogen buses will be the first of their kind to be built in Australia, so this is a significant deal for everyone involved.

“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.”

Adds Thiago Deiro, Volgren’s Chief Executive Officer: “We believe that hydrogen has an important place in Australia and Wrightbus is one of the most important global players in hydrogen buses. We are confident the partnership will help speed up the deployment of hydrogen buses in Australia.

“By collaborating with Wrightbus we’re securing local jobs in Australia’s zero-emission future and creating knowledge and experience in hybrid fuel cell technology.”

The deal follows a bill brought in today which will bring into force the UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement. Secretary of State for International Trade Anne-Marie Trevelyan says: “I’m proud of our work helping companies like Wrightbus get export wins like this. They are paving the way for others to make in the UK and sell to the world.”

Pictured (left to right): Head of Wrightbus International Nathan Hodge; Volgren COO Yuri Tessari; Volgren CEO Thiago Deiro; Ian Paisley Jr, MP for North Antrim; Wrightbus CEO Buta Atwal; Department of International Trade’s Deputy Director of Northern Ireland, James Toolan