How Ballymena is helping Limerick to go fully-electric

Wrightbus builds 55 rapid-charge double deck buses in €54 NTA investment

The Republic's Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan with NTA chief executive Anne Graham and Bus Éireann chief executive Stephen Kent

Zero-emission transport pioneer Wrightbus is playing a crucial role in the development of Ireland’s first fully-electric regional city bus service.

It comes as 55 of the firm’s locally-made rapid-charge double deck StreetDeck Electroliners are being rolled out across Limerick.

The battery-electric buses, all built at Wrightbus’s Ballymena headquarters, mean cleaner air and quieter streets for the city.

Limerick’s bus service, operated by Ireland’s national bus company Bus Éireann, is set to become Ireland’s first fully-electric regional city bus service as part of a €54 million investment by the National Transport Authority (NTA).

As part of the investment, the 55 buses will service more than 2.1 million emission-free kilometres across Limerick city service annually.

Currently 34 all-electric buses are in Limerick ahead of their introduction into service en-masse, with a further 21 of these buses expected to enter service in early 2025.

Wrightbus chief executive Jean-Marc Gales said: “We’re delighted to partner with the NTA in the drive to zero-emission public transport and to have played our part in helping it develop Ireland’s first fully-electric regional city bus service.

Jean-Marc Gales.
Jean-Marc Gales, chief executive of Wrightbus (elaine hill photography)

“We are at the forefront of zero-emission technology and have a tremendous reputation for our fleet, both battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell buses.

“Our ambition is to see many more of our buses be rolled out across cities, towns and rural areas all over the world.”

The new service was officially launched by Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan at Limerick’s Colbert Station.

The investment builds on the success of Ireland’s first ever all-electric town bus service launched in Athlone in January 2023.

Minister Ryan said: “It is great to see the launch of electrified bus services in Limerick city. This follows on from the successful roll-out of a fully-electrified town bus service in Athlone last year and the ongoing decarbonisation of the Dublin bus fleet.

“Government is committed to the greening of our public transport services and today represents an important step toward meeting our climate targets, while also providing a quieter, cleaner bus service for the people of Limerick.”

The buses will be charged using newly-installed charging infrastructure at Limerick’s Roxboro depot.

In preparation for the new all-electric service, Bus Éireann drivers and mechanics have undergone a comprehensive training programme – more than 500 hours – on the driving, maintenance and operation of the new fleet.

Anne Graham, chief executive of the NTA, said: “These zero-emission vehicles will not only provide a smoother, more accessible journey for our customers, but will also significantly reduce Co2 emissions and noise pollution in the areas they operate.

“This investment highlights the NTA’s dedication to creating a cleaner, greener and more efficient future for the people of Limerick.”

Stephen Kent, chief executive of Bus Éireann, added: “Our mission is to help make life better, and this transformative investment in new zero-emission fleet, funded by the NTA, helps us reduce greenhouse gas emissions, providing a cleaner and greener public transport solution for everyone in Limerick city.”