Wrightbus picks Forsee Power

Battery packs to be used by NewPower business

Forsee Power announced that Ballymena, Northern Ireland-based bus manufacturer Wrightbus has chosen its Zen Plus battery systems to repower more than 1,000 diesel buses to electric drivetrains over the next three years. The bus manufacturer recently launched a new enterprise, NewPower, to handle the repower work.

Wrightbus Wrightbus has chosen Forsee Power’s Zen Plus battery systems to repower more than 1,000 diesel buses to electric over the next three years. (Photo: Forsee Power)

“We are proud to pursue our collaboration with Wrightbus on retrofit. From the first-ever opportunity charging solutions in Milton Keynes [a city northwest of London] that we launched together in 2013, we have been partnering with Wrightbus for zero emission transport with innovative solutions for their single and double decker buses, optimizing passenger capacity,” said Christophe Gurtner, chairman and CEO of Forsee Power. “We value our long-term partnership and look forward to repowering thousands of vehicles in the coming years.”

Based in Paris, France, Forsee Power said it has equipped more than 3,000 electric buses and worked with a dozen bus OEMs worldwide. The Zen Plus battery systems are available in five versions from 74 to 84 kWh. The company said the batteries have an energy density of 180 Wh/kg for a 5,000-cycle life.

NewPower at Wrightbus

Wrightbus’ NewPower operation will be located in a factory in Bicester, Oxfordshire, England, and aims to speed up the decarbonization process by replacing engines in older fleets at a lower price than a new bus.

Wrightbus engineers said the conversion can take as little as three weeks and the company has the space to work on six buses at one time, offering the potential to decarbonize 500 buses a year.

“While we are selling new hydrogen and battery-electric buses all over the world,” said said Wrightbus CEO Jean-Marc Gales, “there is a huge market of mid-life buses which, once converted, can have an immediate impact on helping to improve air quality in towns and cities up and down the UK. We have long been recognized as the world-leading manufacturer of both hydrogen and battery-electric buses and now NewPower will add another string to our bow.”

Wrightbus said its zero-emission buses have already travelled over 14 million miles.

The new business is expected to add 22 jobs initially with 65 staff expected on site by the end of the year. NewPower said it has already added to its team with senior hires from across the automotive world, including people who have worked for Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations, BMW and McLaren.

Along with offering a hydrogen fuel cell double deck bus and manufacturing the iconic New Routemaster for London, Wrightbus has unveiled plans to add more jobs as well as an expansion in Europe.

“The business is growing very fast and I am really proud of what we have achieved over the last 12 months because every order, whether home or abroad, guarantees jobs back in Ballymena,” Jean-Marc explained. “We are the number one zero-emissions bus maker in the UK. A year ago, we had 200 zero emission buses on the road. Today, we have over 900 and in the next year we will get to 2,000.”

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