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Volgren signs landmark deal with global hydrogen OEM Wrightbus

Australia’s largest bus body builder Volgren has extended its zero-emission capabilities by partnering with Northern Irish hydrogen bus manufacturer Writghtbus to develop and deploy hydrogen powered fuel cell buses for the Australian market.

The partnership announcement follows Volgren’s successful grant from the Victorian government’s Renewable Hydrogen Commercialisation Pathways Fund. 

Yuri Tessari, Volgren’s chief commercial officer, said the partnership with Wrightbus would bring the world’s leading hydrogen chassis technology to Australia. 

“We believe that Hydrogen has an important place in Australia and Wrightbus is one of the most important global players in hydrogen buses. We are confident the partnership will help speed up the deployment of hydrogen buses in Australia. 

“Wrightbus builds bodies for their products in the UK and Europe. In fact, they use similar body technology to Volgren, namely bolted extruded aluminium profiles. This shared expertise and understanding is one of the many aspects of the partnership that we think will make it a success,” Tessari said. 

Wrightbus CEO Buta Atwal explained the excitement for the company to partner with Volgren.

“As the UK’s leading bus manufacturer with world-leading products, we’re incredibly proud to be partnering with Australia’s number one bus body builder in Volgren,” said Atwal.

“Like us, Volgren is always on the cutting edge of new and emerging technology to drive the industry forwards. There are some fantastic parallels between the two companies and we’re looking forward to a long and successful working relationship

“This is the first time we’ve exported our powertrain technology to a bus body manufacturer, the first time we’ve entered the Australian market as a business, and the hydrogen buses will be the first of their kind to be built in Australia so this is a significant deal for everyone involved.

L-R: Nathan Hodge Wrightbus international, Yuri Tessari Volgren CCO, Thiago Deiro Volgren CEO, Ian Paisley MP for North Antrim, Buta Atwal Wrightbus CEO and James Toolan Department for International Trade Deputy Director of Northern Ireland at the announcement

“We know from our extensive experience the significant part hydrogen can play in the decarbonisation of public transport and we believe the scope for uptake across the Australian market is huge as the country makes the vital switch to zero-emission vehicles. We’re excited to be in from the start.”

Thiago Deiro, CEO of Volgren, said the partnership was not just good news for sustainability, and the nation’s move towards green transport, but also for the economy.

“By collaborating with Wrightbus, we’re securing local jobs in Australia’s zero-emission future and creating knowledge and experience in hybrid fuel cell technology,” Diero said.

“Volgren has always been at the vanguard of adopting new technologies. We’ve proven that with the development of our battery electric buses and now we have the opportunity to do the same with our first hydrogen prototype.”

Diero added that Volgren would continue to invest in technologies and partnerships that accelerate Australia’s push towards zero-emission transport and said hydrogen was a logical part of that strategy.

The first Volgren-Wrightbuses are expected to be ready in the first few months of 2023. The buses will be the first hydrogen buses in Australia to be built by an Australian manufacturer and the first to using an European chassis.

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