Manufactured for Serviceability

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Transit production line at Lightning Systems
Electric Transit vans being assembled at Lightning’s production facility in Loveland, Colorado.

Note: This blog article was posted in the Summer of 2020. Since that time, Lightning eMotors has added a purpose-built eChassis to our product line-up which diversifies our offerings to the market. As of early 2022, the bulk of our business consists of electrifying existing OEM chassis. Going forward, vehicles based on the Lightning eChassis will give customers additional choice.

Here at Lightning Systems we have a philosophy: Why reinvent the wheel? Or the chassis, or the body, or the upfit marketplace?

Unlike other EV manufacturers who attempt to build completely new vehicles from the ground up, we take a different approach.  We start with tried-and-trusted chassis from major OEMs such as Ford, Isuzu and General Motors (and there are more coming… stay tuned), and build zero-emissions, all electric commercial EVs that are easy for your team to operate and maintain, and available now.

There are many benefits to this strategy: let me list some of them…

  1. Our vehicles are built on existing platforms that are road-proven for millions – no, billions – of miles. EV manufacturers who develop new vehicles from scratch will go to market with no track record on reliability, safety and driver acceptance.
  2. We’re not taking on the burden of manufacturing and assembling the whole vehicle, or the enormous supply chain and inventory management costs and uncertainties. This lets us focus on designing and building our electric powertrains, and assembling them into the vehicles. In fact, EV manufacturers who develop and build their own vehicles are taking on a huge incremental burden to themselves while delivering products with little or no end-user value over what we deliver.
  3. Our vehicles have nationwide service and parts infrastructure in place, as far as the chassis and body are concerned; and our service infrastructure for the electric powertrain is growing rapidly. If you maim a mirror in Missouri, Montana or Maine your local dealer has you covered.
  4. Our vehicles have an already-existing, rich ecosystem of high-quality upfit equipment available, such as cargo boxes from Morgan Olson and others, bus bodies from Diamond Coach, Metrolink and others, wheelchair lifts, cargo lifts, ramps, shelving, safety interlock systems and more. EV manufacturers with boutique designs will have to build that ecosystem from zero.
  5. Familiarity: Our vehicles are completely familiar to drivers, who will feel right at home. In fact they prefer our vehicles, because the electric experience is quicker, smoother and quieter. Fleet operators are also very familiar with the vehicles from an operational point of view.
  6. Integration: The fact that we’re using an OEM chassis doesn’t mean that the integration of our powertrain is half-baked. We work closely with the OEMs on CAN-bus integration, mechanical optimization and functional refinement. You can be sure that our vehicles are every bit as good as if the OEMs made them themselves. Better, in fact, because of our in-depth telematics/analytics service and our high-touch customer relationship.
  7. Availability: By leveraging work already done on the chassis side, we are able to deliver vehicles faster. While other commercia EV manufactures are still designing their vehicles, we are delivering ours to customers.

As you can see, our philosophy allows us to deliver premium electric commercial vehicles to a hungry market, without saddling ourselves with the burden of developing new vehicles. It’s a win for us and a win for fleets.

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