Lightning eMotors today announced a $45 million order for its zero-emission powertrain systems from Faribault, Minnesota-based motorcoach supplier ABC Companies. The first zero-emission motorcoach was delivered in December.
The order includes a mix of new vehicles manufactured by Lightning eMotors, as well as new zero-emission powertrain systems developed by Lightning eMotors to be upfit by ABC Companies into customers’ previously operated vehicles.
Under the order and partnership, Lightning eMotors has trained ABC Companies personnel to install and service Lightning Electric powertrain systems. In addition to Class 8 motorcoaches, the order from ABC Companies includes Class 3 Lightning Electric Transit passenger vans, Class 4 Lightning Electric E-450 shuttle buses, Class 5 Lightning Electric F-550 shuttle buses, and Class 7 transit buses.
“The first motorcoach delivered has met the high expectations many of our customers have,” said Roman Cornell, president and chief commercial officer of ABC Companies. “It has excellent power, over 200 miles of range on a charge, and Lightning’s energy division can support installation of fast-charging systems that meet our customer’s stringent requirements. This agreement demonstrates our commitment to work together with Lightning eMotors and sets our order plans for the next 24 months.”
Electric motorcoaches to be offered by ABC Companies include both touring coach and high-capacity double-deck coaches.
“At 3,445 Newton-meters of torque (2,540 ft-lbs), the Lightning eMotors’ electric motorcoaches are our most powerful and advanced powertrain to date,” said Tim Reeser, chief executive officer of Lightning eMotors. “They have an 800-volt modular, liquid-cooled battery system with up to 640 kilowatt-hours of energy that provides roughly 200 miles of real-world range and can be charged fully in three hours via DC fast charging.
“The coach powertrain is our seventh commercial electric vehicle powertrain, developed on our modular, proprietary software, and hardware platform,” Reeser added. “With more than 500 components, and a multitude of custom-built systems including intricate wiring harnesses, DC fast charging systems, control software, framework, and several of the high voltage HVAC components, we developed the powertrain in less than a year, proving the value of our accelerated building-block platform.”
Despite the complexity, the powertrain is designed to be quickly installed by trained ABC technicians at their facilities throughout North America.
The partnership with Lightning eMotors was formed after ABC Companies conducted a global search for a powertrain provider with the scope, scale, experience, and expertise to provide zero-emission vehicles and offer charging solutions for large corporate and municipal customers. ABC also liked that Lightning eMotors would be able to develop custom zero-emission repower kits for a variety of customers and vehicle applications, Cornell said.
“Many of our large corporate and university campus customers are making plans to go all-electric as they ramp back up, so we are excited to be able to immediately offer both new electric buses and zero-emission repower solutions through our Diesel-to-Electric Repower Program,” Cornell added.
The repower program is launching under ABC Companies’ SVT (Specialty Vehicles and Technologies) division, underscoring the company’s focus on lowering EV market cost-of-entry barriers for coach operators.
In addition to providing a full range of zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) repower options for motorcoaches, ABC also will be an authorized nationwide service center and distributor for new and repower options for Lightning eMotors’ popular shuttle vans and cutaway applications, such as the Lightning Electric Transit passenger van and Lightning Electric E-450 and F-550 shuttle buses. “Many of our customers utilize these vans and shuttle buses for various short distance routes, such as airport runs and hotel shuttles, as well as last-mile services for smaller groups,” Reeser said. “These vehicles provide a very compelling total cost of ownership. And, as fleets target the vehicles and routes that they will electrify first, we need to be ready to meet those needs.
“The smoothness, the quietness, and the power of these electric motorcoaches is a game-changer for drivers, passengers, and operators” Reeser added. “We’re providing a full range of powerful, cost-effective zero-emission vehicles, engineered to support each operator’s sustainability goals.”
Last month, Lightning eMotors and GigCapital3 announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement for a business combination. With GigCapital3’s initial filing of a Form S-3 combined proxy statement/prospectus on Dec. 31, 2020, Lightning eMotors’ pending business combination with GigCapital3 remains on track for an expected closing in the first quarter of 2021, subject to the approval of the stockholders of GigCapital3 and Lightning eMotors and other conditions to closing. Upon closing of the business combination, the combined operating company will be named Lightning eMotors and will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol [“ZEV”].