Wrightbus Chooses Forsee to Convert 1,000-Plus Diesel Buses to Electric


Northern Ireland bus manufacturer Wrightbus has chosen ZEN PLUS battery systems from Forsee Power to convert (repower) more than 1,000 diesel buses into electric ones over the next three years.

The bus manufacturer launched NewPower, a new enterprise to replace older diesel engines with new zero-emission electric powertrains. Multiple operators in the United Kingdom have asked for tenders to retrofit their fleets.

Wrightbus plans strong European growth in 2024, with first deals already announced in Germany. Leveraging its position and expertise in zero-emission public transport, Wrightbus has made repowering a strategic development axis and established into a high-tech factory in Bicester, Oxfordshire, for this new activity. It is the first OEM to offer a repowering service, utilizing the skills of its 1,800-strong workforce to swap diesel for electricity. Its master technicians built the original buses and have expertise in swapping powertrains.

Retrofitting thermal engine vehicles is recognized as an excellent solution to accelerate the decarbonation of transport. It is a credible alternative to internal combustion engine vehicles by limiting costs and extending the life of vehicles in operations.

In concrete terms, the combustion engine, exhaust and tank are removed and replaced by an electric motor and a battery. Once modifications have been made, the vehicle is powered by electric energy and is therefore zero-emission and offers greater efficiency, safety and a longer lifespan.

“We have long been recognized as a world-leading manufacturer of both hydrogen and battery electric buses, and now NewPower will add another string to our bow,” says Wrightbus CEO Jean-Marc Gales. “We are the number one zero-emissions bus maker in the U.K. 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.”

The ZEN PLUS battery systems chosen by Wrightbus to repower buses come in five versions from 74 to 84 kWh. ZEN PLUS delivers an energy density of 180 Wh/kg, allowing a long 5,000-cycle life and providing a competitive total cost of ownership for fleet operators.

“We are proud to pursue our collaboration with Wrightbus on retrofit,” says Christophe Gurtner, chairman and CEO of Forsee Power. “From the first-ever opportunity charging solutions in Milton Keynes 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. We value our long-term partnership and look forward to repowering thousands of vehicles in the coming years.”

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