More Ballymena-built double deckers hit the streets of Norwich

First Bus completes transformation of depot to all-electric fleet after investing in zero-emission vehicles

Announcing the latest bus deal are (from left) Janette Bell (managing director of First Bus), Piers Marlow (managing director at First East of England) and Isabel McAllister (chief sustainability & compliance officer at First Bus)

Zero-emission technology from Wrightbus continues to play a crucial role in the development of one of the first all-electric bus depots in the UK.

A further 11 electric single deck buses manufactured by the Ballymena firm will join a fleet of 59 Wrightbus double decks on the streets of Norwich by the end of March.

The Norwich operation, run by First Bus, is also the first complete zero-emission commercial bus fleet in England located outside of London.

First Bus has invested £37.2 million in infrastructure and buses to make the scheme at its Roundtree Way depot a reality.

The money comprises £14.7 million of Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) government funding, bid for and won with Norfolk County Council, and a capital investment of £22.5 million from First Bus.

The new electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions, which will help to create a cleaner, greener environment for people to live, work and enjoy. They also offer customers a more comfortable ride, as they are quieter and smoother than diesel vehicles.

Jean-Marc Gales, chief executive at Wrightbus, said: “We are delighted to partner with First Bus in the drive to zero-emission public transport and to have played our part in helping them develop one of the first all-electric bus depots in the country.

“First Bus, like us, is at the forefront of new and exciting technology, and our partnership enhances the reputation we have forged in playing an important part in the UK’s ambitions for decarbonisation.

“Our buses are designed with customer comfort in mind and offer a high-spec interior full of innovative features. We have great ambitions both in the UK and across Europe to have many more of our buses on the roads helping with the drive to decarbonisation of public transport.”

Jean-Marc Gales facing the camera with a manufacturing floor behind him.
Jean-Marc Gales, chief executive of Wrightbus (elaine hill photography)

Piers Marlow, managing director of First East of England, said: “These vehicles are absolutely fantastic - not only from a sustainability and air quality perspective, but they are great for our customers, as well as our drivers and engineers, and we’re already receiving lots of positive feedback.”

Wrightbus has been at the forefront of the movement to decarbonise public transport across the UK and Ireland with the Electroliner alongside its world-first hydrogen double deck, the StreetDeck Hydroliner.