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Lightning eMotors strategic agreement with shuttle bus maker Forest River; up to 7,500 electric Class 4 and 5 buses from 2021-2025

Lightning eMotors, a provider of specialty commercial electric vehicles for fleets, and Forest River, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company and the largest shuttle bus manufacturer in North America, entered into a strategic partnership agreement to deploy up to 7,500 zero-emission shuttle buses.


The agreement, with a potential estimated value of up to $850 million, calls for Lightning eMotors to build fully electric powertrains and provide charging products, and services for Forest River over the next four and a half years.

Lightning eMotors will manufacture the zero-emission-vehicle (ZEV) powertrain systems at its 231,000 square foot facility in Loveland, Colorado and ship the powertrains to Forest River’s factory in Goshen, Indiana, for final assembly of the Class 4 and 5 all-electric passenger buses.

Forest River is the leading shuttle bus market leader in North America, with eight manufacturing buildings and more than 500,000 square feet of production space. The Elkhart, Indiana-based company has plans to dedicate 100,000 square feet to install Lightning eMotors’ powertrains.

Forest River’s family of shuttle bus companies, including top name brands like Starcraft, Glaval, and Champion, maintain a dominant market position selling over 10,000 units per year in the Class 4 to 6 shuttle-bus space, noted Tim Reeser, CEO of Lightning eMotors.

Forest River’s sales volumes allow us to provide a price point to their dealers and customers that results in a very compelling ROI. We believe this commitment from the largest shuttle bus manufacturer in the US demonstrates that they believe that commercial vehicle customers are now demanding Lightning eMotors’ zero-emission vehicles over ICE vehicles.

—Tim Reeser

The vehicles that Forest River and Lightning eMotors will co-produce are Class 4 and 5 shuttle buses with gross vehicle weight ratings ranging from 14,500 to 19,500 pounds. The buses will feature battery configurations from 80 kWh to more than 160 kWh using industry-leading battery thermal management systems.

These vehicles support ranges on a single charge between 80 and 160 miles and can recharge over a lunch break using Lightning eMotors’ DC fast charge infrastructure with integrated vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities.

Available configurations will have between 12 and 33 passenger seats with ADA options available, and bus lengths of 20 to 34 feet. Other features include a modern digital-dash display, hill-hold functionality for safety, advanced telematics, analytics, and a mobile app for drivers and fleet managers. All vehicles will be compliant with the Federal Transit Administration’s “Buy America” and the Federal Aviation Administration’s “Buy American” guidelines.

Forest River’s 100-plus bus dealership locations throughout the US and Canada will have the opportunity to sell and service these vehicles. Manufacturing of Forest River Lightning EV shuttles has already begun, and Forest River expects to deliver several dozens of the new electric shuttle buses to its dealerships by the end of this year.

Lightning eMotors’ charging division, Lightning Energy, will offer a comprehensive suite of charging and charging infrastructure related products and services to Forest River dealers and shuttle-bus operators.



Good deal for both companies


The more EBs the less dirty diesels.

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