IRTE Skills Challenge News

Cleaner vehicles: Which is the best way to go?

14th Mar 2018

BAE Systems, back to sponsor the IRTE Skills Challenge for a second year, is pledging its future to the industry by diversifying its offering away from diesel.

Matthew Lawrence, Business Development Manager at BAE Systems, says that although it can be demanding to forecast in the current market, the positive shift from CO2 to clean air means there are now many options available to coach and bus operators, despite many relying on subsidies to make the switch.

“It does make it difficult to plan ahead. The trickiest thing for us is to know what flavour of technology to invest in the most,” he says.

“Back in the day when diesel was king – as it was so good at meeting a range of duty cycles – OEMs only needed one product, and they put a different body on it for each market.

“The OEMs now have to design a specific platform for different class of usage, so maybe full electric for city centre, hybrid for the city outskirts, and a mild hybrid for rural applications.”

One task facing the competitors at the Skills Challenge 2017 was to fault-find on a BAE Systems hybrid bus using its own IDS computer diagnostic system; the test proved extremely popular at the week-long event, and came as further evidence that working the latest technology is appealing to coach and bus technicians.

“It’s becoming much more difficult to place your investment in a certain sector because there are so many different technologies at play,” says Matthew.

“We think hybrid still has a part to play but we’re also investing in the full electric driveline range, so it’s difficult to know how to prioritise.”

Further details of the IRTE Skills Challenge are available at

Post a comment

To be able to contribute to this discussion you need to be a registered SOE website user. If you already have a username and password, log in using the forum fields below.

Remember me

If your browser doesn't automatically prompt you to save your login details, read how to change your browser's settings.

Forgotten password?

Members without username and password

If you're an SOE Member and don't yet have a username and password, you can register for access.


If you're not a member, then find out how SOE Membership can benefit your career.

Visit the Membership pages to find out more and how to join.