The Northern Irish bus manufacturer Wrightbus presents its first battery-electric vehicle in its portfolio: a double-decker bus called StreetDeck Electroliner. Until now, the Northern Irish manufacturer has been known primarily for its hydrogen-powered buses.
The StreetDeck Electroliner has seating capacity for 95 passengers, including 74 seats. The batteries are housed in the underbody and rear, and the total battery package is available in a 340 or 454 kWh configuration. With the latter energy content, up to 200 miles (about 320 kilometres) range is possible, according to Wrightbus. The manufacturer also emphasises the fast-charging capability of the new buses as a special feature: they can be charged via CCS with up to 300 kW and via Pantograf with up to 420 kW. With regard to charging time, however, the Northern Irish company only give values for charging with 150 kW: Accordingly, the charging process takes 2.5 hours for the 340 kWh bus variant and three hours for the 454 kWh variant.
An 8-year warranty is offered as an option for the batteries. Other features of the StreetDeck Electroliner, Wrightbus says, include a ZF rear axle system (AV133) and an independent front suspension system (RL 82 EC), also from ZF. Buyers also have the choice of one or two doors.
Forsee Power is the supplier of the batteries for the new BEV double-decker. The Bamford Group, the new parent of Wrightbus, had extended its partnership with the French battery manufacturer in October 2020 with a new contract for several hundred battery systems per year. Forsee Power announced the launch of extra-thin battery modules earlier this year, naming Wrightbus directly as the launch customer for the modules in the new Slim range. It is not clear from the current announcement whether these batteries are now already installed in the Electroliner.
Wrightbus has been in existence since 1946 and is based in Ballymena in Northern Ireland. In October 2019, the company was brought out of insolvency by Jo Bamford. In the alternative propulsion sector, Wrightbus is so far known for its Hydroliner FCEV hydrogen double-decker. Units are in use in Aberdeen, London, Belfast and Dublin. Just recently, the British capital received 20 Wrightbus H2 double-decker buses that will be used on route 7 between East Acton and Oxford Circus.
“We have gained a strong reputation for our hydrogen double deck but we want to lead the world in zero-emissions full stop,” expresses Wrightbus CEO Buta Atwal. “We haven’t weighed the bus down with a high battery volume just so we can say it’s got the most power or range; instead, we want to be the most efficient vehicle on the road so we’ve combined optimum power with a class-leading rapid charge meaning our electric bus spends more time on the road than any other.”