Wrightbus in £7.5m deal to build 15 hydrogen buses for Aberdeen
A Scottish city is to deploy 15 high-technology green energy buses from Co Antrim firm Wrightbus in a deal worth more than £7.5m.
The hydrogen-powered fuel cell double decker fleet - costing around £500,000 per vehicle - will be operated by transit company First Aberdeen in the coastal city.
Hydrogen is often hailed as the future of motoring.
David Barnett, business development director for Wrightbus, welcomed the firm's latest contract win.
"Wrightbus is delighted to have worked with Aberdeen City Council and First Aberdeen on this exciting project," he said.
"The fuel cell electric bus range demonstrates yet again Wrightbus' technical excellence and leadership.
"The vehicle offers pioneering cities, like Aberdeen, the opportunity to replace diesel buses with zero emission buses on a one-to-one basis."
The Wrightbus Streetdeck FCEV vehicles can carry up to 64 passengers and have been developed as part of the JIVE project (Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles across Europe) funded by the EU. Similar buses have already been ordered by the City of London.
David Phillips, operations director for First Aberdeen, told reporters: "We are delighted to be the first bus company to operate these unique new Wrightbus hydrogen-powered double-decker buses for the city of Aberdeen."
The contract has been jointly funded by Aberdeen City Council, the European Union and the Scottish Government
Scotland's Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse welcomed the signing of the contract with Wrightbus, saying: "Our track record of early actions to fund hydrogen initiatives has created a favourable opinion of Scotland in the UK and abroad as an innovation leader in this area.
"We were delighted to contribute to the funding which has made this exciting next phase of Aberdeen's hydrogen journey possible.
"This important investment will help the city achieve its decarbonisation ambitions and further cement its reputation for innovation and technology."
The Aberdeen order comes just two months after Ballymena-based Wrightbus secured an order for 20 of their hydrogen-powered buses in a £12m Transport for London investment programme.
The new double-decker buses will be the first of their kind in the world, and will form part of an initiative to encourage other cities to take up the environmentally friendly technology in order to cut harmful emissions.
Last month former London Mayor Boris Johnson, frontrunner to become the next Prime Minister, revealed he relaxes by making models of Wrightbus buses out of old wine crates.