Lightning eMotors has announced a second-generation repower programme to convert 40-foot transit buses in North America to battery-electric power.

By repowering existing transit buses from diesel or CNG internal combustion to zero-emission-at-the-tailpipe battery-electric powertrains, Lightning will help public and private transit agencies electrify their fleets at less than half the cost and in one-third of the time of acquiring new electric buses.

Under this second-generation programme, the repowered buses will feature a 560kWh battery system that will provide more than 200 miles of range on a single charge.

Electric Repower
According to Lightning eMotors, California’s push to reduce emissions from transportation makes these low-floor SamTrans city buses ideal candidates for Lightning eMotors’ Repower programme

Repowering commercial diesel vehicles with a new diesel powertrain has been common for many years due to the chassis and body often outlasting the powertrains. By instead repowering such vehicles with electric powertrains, transit agencies can reduce their emissions and advance their sustainability goals.

Lightning eMotors produced the first repowered electric transit bus for the city of Boulder, Colorado in 2018. This first-generation vehicle is still in operation.

Mac Burns, Director of Product Management, Lightning eMotors said:

Lightning’s transit bus repower program provides transit agencies a significantly more affordable and faster way to electrify their bus fleets and ensure clean and quiet operation for passengers and pedestrians alike. With increasing pressure to reduce carbon emissions and offer clean transportation solutions, we are confident fleet operators will see the sustainability benefits of converting existing diesel-powered vehicles to electric power rather than letting them end up in a landfill.

Lightning eMotors’s repowered transit buses will qualify for the same federal and state funding as new electric buses, including the Federal Transit Administration’s Low and No Emission Vehicle Program.

Lightning will repower the buses at its factory in Loveland, Colorado or at one of its authorised partner sites. Additionally, for agencies wishing to repower a large quantity of buses, Lightning can train the fleets’s maintenance teams to install the electrification kit on their own.

Nick Bettis, director of marketing and sales operations for Lightning eMotors said:

There has never been a better time for transit fleet operators to accelerate the transformation of their fleets to zero-emission electric. Available federal and state-level funding provides a much-needed solution to the financial challenge in electrifying fleets in this sector and, with Lightning’s Transit Repower programme, fleet managers can extend the lifecycle of current fleets quickly, affordably and responsibly versus new purchases.

The first repowered electric buses under this programme are expected to be deployed in 2023.

This announcement follows Lightning’s recent collaboration with Blue Bird to repower electric school buses.


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