Lightning eMotors enters school bus space

By Mike Brezonick31 August 2021

Collins Bus, a subsidiary of REV Group that specializes in the manufacturing Type A school buses, and Lightning eMotors, a Colorado-based provider of all-electric powertrains and commercial vehicles, have announced a strategic partnership to manufacture and deploy zero-emission, all-electric Type A school buses.

Collins e-bus Lightning eMotors has reached an agreement through which it will supply all-electric powertrains including installation and charging infrastructure products and services to Type A school bus specialist Collins Bus.

The agreement includes an initial firm order commitment worth approximately $11 million over the next two years. Lightning will provide all-electric powertrains including installation and charging infrastructure products and services

“School districts across the U.S. and Canada are eager to introduce zero-emission electric buses,” said Brian Perry, president, REV Commercial Segment. “In addition to being clean, green, and sustainable, electric school buses are quiet, efficient, and much less expensive to maintain. We’re pleased to be working with Lightning eMotors to provide districts with the all-electric buses their students, drivers, and communities want.”

The all-electric Type A school buses each will have a gross vehicle weight of 14,500 lb. and will incorporate NMC batteries and battery thermal management and safety systems. The buses will support both Level 2 AC charging and Level 3 dc fast charging, with integrated vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities. The vehicles will also include a digital dash display, hill-hold functionality, advanced telematics, analytics, and a mobile app for drivers and fleet managers, Collins said. The company said it has deployed more than 70,000 buses over the last 50 years across the United States and Canada.

“Collins has decades of bus manufacturing experience and is a long-standing leader in Class A school buses, with a well-established and loyal dealer network and customer base,” said Tim Reeser, CEO of Lightning eMotors. “We are thrilled that they have selected us to be their EV technology partner.

“There are nearly half a million school buses in the U.S., that are sitting at peak electric times available to put energy back on the grid, making student transportation a key part in reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Collins’ leadership will be a strong catalyst for the market to move to all electric.”

The first batch of all-electric Collins school buses leveraging Lightning’s EV technology is already in production, with buses expected to be delivered to dealerships and school districts this fall.

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