The world´s eyes are focused on the United Kingdom and in particular London during the Olympic Games. And what’s more quintessentially British than the red double-decker bus?
London’s mayor Boris Johnson agrees. Johnson recently ordered 600 new high-profile low-emission hybrid-electric buses to be delivered between now and 2016. The vehicles—which will be provided by independent bus builder Wrightbus—will be the first designed specifically for the capital city in more than 50 years.
There are currently eight prototypes being used across the streets of London. The design— a double-decker with three entrances and a double staircase—was hatched by a team of engineers at the Wrightbus plant in Galgorm, outside Ballymena in Northern Ireland.
Wrightbus—the largest bus manufacturer in the U.K.—is a pioneer in its field and the first to design low-floor buses for the U.K. market, vehicles with no steps between its entrances and the passenger cabin, for easy access by the elderly and wheelchair bound.
The company is also at the forefront of green technology. The Wright Group’s StreetCar RTV is a rapid transit vehicle with a hybrid propulsion system for clean urban operation. The RTV is something between a train and a bus, and doesn’t require rails. Its futuristic slanted-front windscreen and multiple passenger doors is notably train-like in design. The diesel hybrid drive system—capable of delivering 0-30 mph in 10 seconds—is the first of its kind to be used in the United States.
And The Wright Group’s StreetLite played an integral part in the Torch Relay for the London Olympic Games. Ten examples of the wheel-forward variant owned by Stagecoach were used to shuttle relay runners and event staff between relay starting points. The buses were decorated in a special amber vinyl wrap with lettering for the games.
In recent years, The Wright Group has focused increasingly on overseas markets like the U.S., Hong Kong and Singapore, establishing itself as a leading global player. The company recently supplied the bodywork for 150 new double-decker buses to SBS Transit of Singapore. The multi-million-pound order involved “kits” produced locally in Northern Ireland shipped out for local assembly.
The 40-feet air-conditioned tri-axle buses—which are built on Volvo B9TL chassis—were designed to meet the specific requirements of climate and high-capacity transport in Singapore.
Learn more about The Wright Group’s winning PLM platform, and listen to an interview with David Barnett, development engineering manager at Wrightbus, on how the company is meeting the challenges of global product development.