The Lion Electric Co., a school bus maker based in Quebec, has been converting its production capacity to electric school buses over the past 3 years and is now leveraging its expertise to bring to market an entire lineup of all-electric trucks and buses.
The eLion electric bus has a range from 90 to 150 km (55 to 94 miles) depending on the configuration.
As we reported earlier today, they have delivered 40 of those electric buses in California over the past 12 months to contribute to what is now the largest electric school bus fleet in North America.
They are building these buses in Saint-Jerome, a small city about half an hour north of west of Montreal in Quebec, Canada.
I visited their facility last month and I was quite impressed by their operations. They are still building both electric and diesel buses at the factory. But, when I was there, they appeared to be mostly building electric buses:
Unlike most bus makers who are going electric, Lion has been developing a significant part of its own electric powertrain technology in order to develop an expertise and not simply integrate a third-party powertrain into a diesel bus.
As their school bus business grows, they now want to leverage their expertise into a full lineup of electric vehicles from buses to trucks.
We are talking about anything from small shuttle buses to class 8 heavy-duty electric trucks. These class 8 electric trucks will have a range aimed for urban transport, but Lion says that it will still have a significant range and load capacity.
They showed me their first yet-to-be-unveiled prototype that will be part of this new lineup of electric vehicles.
It’s a shuttle bus (third one from the left on the picture above) equipped with a new 80 kWh battery pack architecture that Lion built around LG Chem’s pouch cell.
The chassis can fit two of those battery packs, which enables a significant range, and the packs can be easily swapped by a forklift for high usage applications.
Considering they have yet to unveil the vehicle in their latest generation of trucks, I couldn’t take any pictures.
But it was a glimpse at what The Lion Electric Co. is working on. In the near future you may begin to see more of their electric school buses on the road.
We will keep a close eye on the company as they make progress on their new heavy-duty electric vehicles. They say that they will start production by the end of the year.
They recently secured a new round of investment and expanded at their facilities in Quebec, but now they are also in negotiation to open a new factory in the US to support their new manufacturing ambitions.