Lightning eMotors (NYSE: ZEV), a provider of medium-duty and specialty commercial electric vehicles for fleets, is making available the Lightning eChassis, an all-new rolling chassis purpose-built for commercial EV applications, the company announced in a Jan. 4 news release.
The Lightning eChassis, developed with Metalsa, may be used for class 4 and class 5 commercial electric chassis cab, stripped chassis, and cutaway chassis configurations. With the addition of the eChassis, Lightning eMotors becomes the first commercial EV manufacturer that can offer both the electrification of existing OEM chassis and purpose-built commercial electric vehicles.
The design accommodates different battery sizes and configurations, powertrain integrations and wheelbases, allowing Lightning eMotors to support a wide variety of vocational applications and upfitter partners. Lightning’s eChassis will support an increased Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of about 1,500 pounds more, on average, than platforms on the market today. This provides customers the potential to increase passenger and payload capacity for electrified ambulances, shuttle buses, delivery and refrigerated trucks and work trucks.
Lightning eMotors expects pre-production units to be available starting in the second quarter of 2022 with production units planned before the end of the year.
“This collaboration with Metalsa will allow us to serve areas of the commercial vehicle market that are underserved with electrification options,” said Tim Reeser, CEO and co-founder of Lightning eMotors, in the news release. “Bringing this solution to the commercial EV space represents another milestone in our strategy to offer our customers purpose-built, highly-customized zero-emission vehicles.”
Metalsa is a provider of structural components and chassis for the automotive and commercial vehicle industries. Its products are built to meet and exceed the industry’s highest strength, weight, safety, and quality standards. Additionally, their proven background in high-volume manufacturing means they have experience to scale up in support of growing market demand.
Joe El-Behairy, president of the e-Mobility growth business unit at Metalsa, said, “Lightning’s platform is designed to accommodate the evolving technology and ever-changing product requirements in the market. We are confident that this new rolling chassis, combined with our integration capabilities and ability to scale manufacturing rapidly, will support Lightning’s growth plans.”
At a time when the industry continues to face supply constraints, the Lightning eChassis will contribute to Lightning eMotors’ planned increase in production in 2022.
“One aspect of our partnership with Metalsa is the control it gives us over our chassis supply chain,” said Chelsea Ramm, vice president of global supply chain for Lightning eMotors. “Constraints on the automotive supply chain have impacted the entire EV market. The Lightning eChassis provides our customers with additional options and the flexible architecture to accommodate a variety of different powertrain needs and wheelbases.”