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Wrightbus owner Jo Bamford has started an asset finance company which he says offers a “complete solution” to financing zero-emission buses.

We said FUZE would help operators get more buses on the road “in the race for net zero”.

Wrightbus, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, in June launched a new battery-powered electric bus, the Electroliner.

The Ballymena company said it was the first company in the world to produce both hydrogen and battery-powered vehicles, with buses running throughout the UK.

FUZE has now been set up to offer financing for zero emission vehicles, including on the vehicles themselves, infrastructure, hydrogen or electric fuel, as well as a repair and maintenance package.

The company is headed by Ben Werth, former director in charge of asset finance for the bus and coach company Mistral Group, with 26 years of experience in the bus industry.

Mr Werth said: “Jo and everyone who works at Wrightbus knows that government subsidies alone are not enough for bus operators to meet their own publicly declared zero emissions targets.

“There are a lot of moving parts in the transition to net zero. To achieve this, a collaborative partnership approach between manufacturers, funders and bus operators is needed.

“FUZE, as a company specializing in zero-emission asset finance, is an integral part of this process.

“The industry is about to undergo a vital change and when the opportunity arose to be a part of it, I knew I couldn’t turn down such an opportunity. “

Mr Werth said FUZE will combine every part of the bus operating costs into a fixed monthly cost.

“Working in conjunction with sister companies RYZE Hydrogen and Wrightbus, we developed a total cost of ownership model encompassing the maintenance of the R&M infrastructure, vehicles, fuel and fleet during the term of the contract, then Distilling it into one fixed monthly cost, ”he said.

“This is available on the entire Wrightbus line of fuel cell electric vehicles and battery electric buses, single or double decker, on variable term contracts depending on operator needs.

“This is a unique offer in the public transport sector.

He added: “The combination of all these costs is unique in our industry – it really is as exciting as asset finance can be. “

Last month, three zero-emission hydrogen double-decker Wrightbus vehicles took to the streets of Dublin, backed by the National Transport Authority and Bus Éireann.

And three Goldliners manufactured by Wrightbus are among the low emission buses added by Translink to its Belfast fleet.

Translink said it aims to operate a zero-emission fleet throughout the NI by 2040 and added its first Wrightbus hydrogen fuel cell double-decker trains to its fleet in December of last year.

This month marks the second anniversary of the Wrightbus administration, when it went bankrupt under the Wright family property with debts of around £ 60million and the loss of 1,200 jobs.

However, it was acquired by Mr Bamford two months later and now employs around 600 people.