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Lightning Systems debuts new all-electric Ford E-450 shuttle bus and cutaway models

Lightning Systems, a global developer of zero-emission drivetrains for commercial fleets, announced new battery-electric powertrain options for the Ford E-450 Shuttle Bus and Ford E-450 Cutaway.


The new Lightning Electric models for the Ford E-450 will be available in 14,500-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) with an all-electric range of 110 miles. Orders are being accepted immediately, and delivery of the new products will begin by the end of 2018.

We’ve become the only stop you have to make to get zero-emission vehicles for all of your fleet needs. This follows our strategy of electrifying popular high-quality platforms in the Class 3 to 8 segments. Fleets can get the job done around town or on the worksite, while saving fuel and meeting their sustainability and environmental goals.

—Tim Reeser, CEO of Lightning Systems

The new Lightning Electric Ford E-450 model will offer peak power of 220 kW (295 hp). Torque is rated at 700 N·m (516 lb-ft). There is a five-year, 60,000-mile warranty on the powertrain with maintenance performed by trained local dealers. Clean fleet vouchers and incentives are available in many states through the Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust.

The new model will have an electric range of 110 miles, depending on route and driver. Full regenerative braking, with industry-leading efficiency, adds range while reducing wear and tear on the friction brakes.

Featuring a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery system, the new Lightning Electric Ford E-450 will accommodate a full charge in two hours with DC fast charging.

In addition to the new all-electric E-450, existing vehicles can be repowered to be zero-emission trucks and shuttles with the Lightning powertrain.

Now we have high-quality zero-emissions vehicles available for commercial and government fleets in the medium-duty and heavy-duty segments, from the Ford Transit all the way to our all-electric repower product for transit buses. Our goal is to be a full-service provider of elegantly-integrated zero-emission solutions, and this new powertrain for shuttle buses and cutaways is yet another option for fleets looking to reduce their environmental footprint with no compromises on the capability and quality of the vehicle.

—Tim Reeser

Lightning Electric is available for the Ford E-450 as part of Ford’s eQVM (Advanced Fuel Qualified Vehicle Modifiers) program. Ford’s vehicle warranty covers the base chassis for vehicles with the Lightning drivetrain. Ford QVM participants perform installations and service. Earlier this year Lightning Systems began deliveries of the Lightning Electric upfit for the heavy-duty Ford Transit, which is also covered by Ford’s eQVM program.

QVM is Ford’s quality recognition given to aftermarket adaptive equipment installers that meet manufacturing guidelines and best practices. Ford’s thorough QVM qualification process includes on-site assessments at each location to verify the operation meets manufacturing, assembly, workmanship, customer service, and quality requirements, and that it has processes in place to produce vehicles that meet federal regulations.

Lightning Analytics, a cloud-based analytics system that provides predictive maintenance, route scoring, range analysis, driver behavior and geofencing for maximum range and efficiency, is available as an option on every Lightning Electric vehicle.



What is the real-world range if it spends all day parked with the air conditioning on?


Parked and plugged in?  It would be great.  Keep the cabin conditioned with zero emissions.

This is one of the prime applications for inductive charging, BTW.  Put chargers at the shuttle stands to keep the climate conditioning going while waiting for passengers.  Conductive charging with an auto-eject system so nobody has to bail out to unplug before getting into motion is probably the best scheme for the home base.  High-power DC charging is probably not needed for vehicles which spend so much time standing in between short runs.


Shuttle Bus operations are a lot different than regular transit bus operation. They spend a lot more time parked, waiting for a small group of passengers to get their $h!t together and then go to one or two set destinations where they sit and wait for that group to return or another to do the same.


These vehicles tend to follow predetermined routes. Hotel to airport, school routes, etc. If they are sitting for a time, plug them in to a charger. Air condition all you want.


Has there been any thought of a plug-in hybrid for these vehicles? I am concerned about have the distance to travel (on occasion) but primarily having short drives within the context of a retirement community.

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