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ABC Companies partners with Lightning eMotors to launch first electric repowered motorcoach

ABC Companies, a leading provider to the motorcoach, transit and specialty passenger transportation market in the United States and Canada, will soon be the first to offer a motorcoach-diesel-to-electric-repower program for North American operators.

Together with Lightning eMotors, formerly known as Lightning Systems, the partners have created a five-step process for identifying, assessing and converting a wide range of “donor” diesel coach models that fit the criteria for fast-track battery electric conversion. The repower kits are engineered by Lightning eMotors and will be installed by ABC technicians.

ABC Companies electric repower

The program will launch 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.

ABC Companies has a very long history of repower and refurbishment expertise, making conversions to battery electric power a logical next step. By sourcing leading suppliers and manufacturers, we will provide a portfolio of offerings and price points that will enable our customers to accelerate their introduction of zero-emission vehicles into their fleets.

Although the pandemic has impacted the motorcoach market, we are working to get traditional vehicles back on the road, while investing now with innovative new solutions which will address customers’ needs for environmentally-friendly vehicles as the industry begins to recover.

—Roman Cornell, president and chief commercial officer of ABC Companies

In spite of these challenging times, many ABC customers and the clients they serve are developing strategies to reduce their carbon footprint, a trend that was started well before the pandemic, noted Cornell. With the cost of current options that organizations face to reduce their carbon footprint ranging from clean energy such as solar panels to the enormous expense of upgrading or building new energy-efficient facilities, battery-electric coaches have become an attractive lower-cost alternative.

Zero-emission coaches can offer a lower-cost investment, while producing immediate benefits to the environment. With the variety of incentives for all-electric transportation, many customers are investing now before funding is depleted or no longer available. Many see zero-emission coaches as a mobile billboard in their communities, demonstrating an organization’s commitment to the communities where they work and live. The realm of possibilities is exciting, and ABC will work to educate and promote its EV-based solutions to customers in partnership with Lightning eMotors.

—Roman Cornell

Cornell cited reduced total cost of ownership and monetizing older assets as tangible benefits when specifically looking to add EV Repower to fleets.

The new partnership between ABC Companies and Lightning eMotors was formed after a global search for a master service provider with the scope, scale, experience and expertise to develop EV Repower kits for a variety of customers and vehicle applications. Lightning eMotors is a leading developer of zero-emission electric powertrains for a wide variety of commercial vehicles and is certified by CARB and multiple OEM chassis certification programs.

In addition to providing a full range of motorcoach zero emission vehicle (ZEV) Repower options, ABC will also be an authorized referral agent for repowering many popular shuttle vans and cutaway applications such as the Lightning Ford Transit passenger van, E-450 and F-550 chassis.

The first repowered motorcoach, a 2012 Van Hool T2145, will be going into operation in the San Francisco area this month, while other motorcoach models are being readied.

In addition to delivering the first repowered motorcoach application and launching the Lightning eMotors EV Repower kit option, ABC will also debut its first fully battery-electric OEM-produced Van Hool motorcoach later in 2020, the Van Hool CX45E.

Lightning eMotors provides complete electrification solutions for commercial fleets—from Class 3 cargo and passenger vans to Class 6 work trucks, Class 7 city buses, and Class 8 motor coaches.


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