Lighting Systems, based in Colorado, has developed a complete battery electric drivetrain for the heavy duty Ford Transit vans. The upfit is offered as part of the Ford Quality Vehicle Modifier program, which keeps the original factory warranty intact for vehicles modified by approved companies like Lightning Systems, XL, and Motiv Power Systems. Vans outfitted with the Lightning Systems electric powertrain will come with a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty from the company.
The company will take the new electric Transit vans on tour this month and deliver the first of them to Halo Event Group, a FedEx Ground contractor in New York City, and XPO Bus Sales in Los Angeles when the tour concludes. CleanTechnica’s Tina Casey is planning to test drive one of the vans in New York City later this month.
“The upcoming road show is a great chance for fleets to experience firsthand how quiet, smooth, and powerful the new LightningElectric is,” said Tim Reeser, chief executive officer for Lightning Systems. “It comes with all the benefits fleets expect from a Ford vehicle — interior comfort, warranty and top-class fit and finish — with the added benefits of a zero emissions electric vehicle like instant acceleration and lower maintenance costs.”
Lightning Systems says its certified upfit contractors can complete the conversion process in a few hours. It is working with Ford to obtain a rolling chassis with no drivetrain installed direct from the factory. Until that happens, the original drivetrain components are being repurposed. The conversion is available for all versions of the Ford Transit 350HD chassis, which is used in many commercial applications that involve passenger and cargo transportation.
The primary benefit for customers is a significant drop in operating and maintenance costs. The Lightning Systems Transit van has been rated at 61 eMPG in city use and 66 eMPG on the highway by the EPA. Transits with conventional powertrains are rated 13 city and 15 highway. In addition, the Lightning Systems Transit is eligible for a variety of federal, states, and local zero emissions incentives that may reduce the acquisition cost by $25,000 or more.
The electric Transit is available with either 50 miles or 100 miles of range. Recharging time is 30 minutes with DC fast-charging equipment and 6 hours with a Level 2 240 volt charger. Payload for the short-range version is 4,000 lbs and 3,000 lbs for the longer range model. Lighting Systems also manufactures hybrid and fuel cell conversions for the Ford Transit van in order to meet the needs of its customers.
“The LightningElectric is the full package,” Reeser added. “Engineering excellence combined with high-quality components validated by years of use in the industry, merged into a first-class, proven platform and supported by the Ford eQVM program and Ford dealer network for service and base-vehicle warranty. Add to this our industry-leading efficiency numbers, with the current government incentives landscape, and it is easy to see why we are already having to add to our production capacity.”
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