Lightning Electric Ford Transit 350HD rolling out in California

LightningElectric Heavy Duty Ford Transit

Lightning Systems announced today that it received an executive order from the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to market its Lightning Electric battery-powered drivetrain for the Ford Transit 350HD.

Lightning Systems was one of the first to test under the newly released 2018 CARB efficiency and range validation test procedures for medium-duty vehicles at the SGS Environmental Testing Center in Aurora, Colo., guided by the engine certification team at ECO, Inc., a leading engine and vehicle emissions certification consulting firm.

“Our team worked hard to complete CARB’s rigorous testing and approval processes,” said Brian Johnston, Lightning Systems director of regulatory affairs. “We were very pleased with the test results that rated the 100-mile system at 109 miles and 1.61 miles per kilowatt hour. This is great news for fleets looking for ways to reduce their environmental footprint and eliminate the maintenance and service required by diesel and gasoline vehicles.”

CARB regulates all vehicles sold in the state. An executive order is a required document that indicates that a vehicle has met all requirements and can be offered for sale in California.

“The CARB EO (executive order) is the gold standard with regard to vehicle certifications, and there is currently no regulation more stringent in the U.S.,” explained Bonnie Trowbridge, Lightning Systems vice-president of marketing and communications.

The Ford Transit 350HD equipped with the zero-emissions Lightning Electric drivetrain achieved 61 MPGe on EPA City routes and 66 MPGe on EPA Highway routes, compared to 13 and 15 MPG respectively for the identically configured gasoline Ford Transit 350HD. The 50-mile range system was rated at 54 miles all-electric range and the 100-mile range vehicle came in at exactly double at 109 miles all-electric range.

Trowbridge explained that though verification is ongoing maintenance costs for the electric Ford Transit may add up to half the cost of its gasoline-powered equivalent. Regenerative braking extends the lifespan of the brakes, plus there are no oil changes, belts, fuel filters, spark plugs and no emissions checks. Also, there are no cost spikes when gasoline prices rise and fewer moving parts mean the drivetrain will be more reliable which equates to less downtime.

The all-electric Lightning Transit features state-of-the-art, liquid-cooled lithium-ion batteries which can be fast-charged in 30 minutes for the 50-mile version and 60 minutes for the 100-mile version. Depending on battery option and drive cycle, Lightning Electric has a payload capacity of up to 4,000 pounds.

Lightning Electric for the Ford Transit is offered throughout the U.S. as part of Ford’s eQVM program. The product is available for Ford Transits with a 10,360-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). Ford’s vehicle warranty covers the base chassis for vehicles with the Lightning drivetrain. Ford QVM dealers and upfitters perform installations and service.

“This is an ideal vehicle for public or private fleets that operate shuttle and paratransit buses, logistics and delivery trucks, and food and beverage vehicles,” Johnston said. “Currently vouchers for $50,000 to $65,000 per vehicle are a significant incentive for California fleets to purchase our industry-leading technology.”

The Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) was formed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to respond to a key market challenge by making clean trucks and buses more affordable for fleets.

By offering point-of-sale incentives for clean trucks and buses, HVIP provides a streamlined approach for providing helpful incentives to fleets without waiting to submit proposals or complicated paperwork.

Fleets receive the voucher discount at the point of sale while HVIP-approved vendors and dealers process the required documentation. In the last nine years HVIP has helped fund more than 4,200 medium- to heavy-duty vehicles in more than 1,000 fleets across California, helping the state meet its clean air goals.

HVIP is administered and implemented through a partnership between CARB and CALSTART (selected by CARB via a competitive grant solicitation).

In California, the first Lightning Electric vehicles will be deployed by XPO Sales, Inc. for the LAX Wingate Hotel in Los Angeles.