Lightning’s Fourth-Generation Electric Van

By Mike Brezonick17 December 2020

Lightning eMotors, a Colorado-based provider of commercial electric vehicles for fleets, has unveiled a new model in its Class 3 Lightning Electric Transit Van. The new, longer-range vehicle is the fourth generation of its battery-electric and fuel cell electric platform, based on the Ford Transit 350HD chassis.

The Gen 4 powertrain, with new battery technology and up to 105 kWh of battery capacity, has up to 40% more range than the Gen 3’s 120-mile range as a battery-only vehicle, with fuel cell configurations extending the range to 250 miles (based on EPA-certified dynamometer testing) and new pricing that provides a compelling total cost of ownership versus a gasoline van.

“Used extensively by commercial and government fleets, Class 3 vehicles, such as passenger vans, cargo vans and ambulances, are ripe for electrification,” said Tim Reeser, CEO of Lightning eMotors. “Class 3 vehicles have an extended wheelbase and expanded cargo and payload capacity and are commonly used by mid-to-large-sized fleets.”

Incorporating a new modular liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery system, the Lightning Electric Transit Van 350HD can add 60 miles of range in 30 minutes of charge time when using dc fast charging with a standard SAE J1172 CCS-1 Combo charging port.

Lightning eMotors
Assembled electric powertrains at Lightning eMotors.

With an 11,000-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), the vehicle has a payload capacity of up to 4840 lb., depending on the selected battery configuration option and other equipment.

New for 2021, Lightning eMotors will offer a new digital dashboard that highlights range, efficiency and state of charge, a new phone application interface, and support for new Ford safety features. In addition, Lightning eMotors is the only electric van manufacturer that supports wheelchair lifts, custom floor rails, and custom bus doors. Lightning eMotors offers high-voltage integration to support battery operation of refrigeration systems, food truck equipment, medical equipment, RV gear, and other upfitter add-ons. Many of these new features will be offered in Lightning eMotors’ Class 4, 5, 6 and 7 vehicles in 2021.

Introduced in 2018, the Lightning Electric Transit Van, along with Lightning eMotors’ Class 4 and 5 Ford-chassis-based electric vehicles are certified under Ford’s eQVM (Advanced Fuel Qualified Vehicle Modifiers) program, which ensures that Ford’s warranty on the vehicle remains in effect, complementing Lightning eMotors’ five-year, 60,000-mile warranty on the electric powertrain. Service is performed by Lightning eMotors’ network of Ford QVM-certified service centers, upfitters, and dealers, and spare parts are readily available worldwide.

Assembly is performed at Lightning eMotors’ Loveland, Colorado facility, which is currently ramping up to reach a production capacity of 1,000 electric commercial EVs per year in 2021 and with a goal of 20,000 vehicles per year by 2025.

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