Wrightbus boss Jo Bamford launches asset finance firm FUZE

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

e said FUZE would help operators put more buses on the roads “in the race to net zero”.

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

The Ballymena firm said it was the first company in the world to produce both hydrogen and battery electric vehicles, with buses running across 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, and a repair and maintenance package.

The business is run by Ben Werth, a former asset finance manager for bus and coach company Mistral Group with 26 years’ 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 stated zero emissions targets.

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

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

“The industry is on the cusp of vital change and when the opportunity presented itself to be a part of it, I knew I couldn’t turn down such an opportunity.”

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

“Working with sister companies RYZE Hydrogen and Wrightbus, we have developed a total cost of ownership model encompassing the maintenance of infrastructure, vehicles, fuel and the R&M fleet over the life of the contract and then consolidating into one fixed monthly cost,” he said.

“This is available across the entire Wrightbus range of fuel cell electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles, single and double decker, on varying contract lengths depending on operator requirements.

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

He added: “Combining all of these costs together is unique in our industry – it really is as exciting as asset finance can get.”

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

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

Translink said it aims to operate a zero-emissions fleet across NI by 2040, and added its first hydrogen fuel cell double-deckers from Wrightbus to its fleet in December last year.

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

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

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