Electric commercial vehicle manufacturer Lighting eMotors and Berkshire Hathaway company Forest River, a manufacturer of recreational vehicles, cargo trailers, utility trailers, pontoon boats, and buses, announced today a strategic partnership aimed at delivering up to 7,500 zero emission shuttle buses, with a potential estimated value of up to $850 million.

According to Tim Reeser, CEO of Lightning eMotors, the deal has the potential to be the largest ever in the electric shuttle bus market, and may serve as a catalyst for the acceleration of the adoption of commercial electric fleets by other commercial vehicle OEMs

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Reeser added:

“We believe this commitment from the largest shuttle bus manufacturer in the U.S. demonstrates that they believe that commercial vehicle customers are now demanding Lightning eMotors’ zero-emission vehicles over ICE vehicles.”

Under the terms of the new agreement, Lighting eMotors will build fully electric powertrains and provide charging products and services for Forest River through 2025. The company will manufacture the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) powertrain systems at its Colorado facility and ship them to Forest River for the final assembly of the Class 4 and 5 zero emission shuttle vehicles.

David Wright, President of Forest River’s bus divisions, said:

“It is clear why Lightning eMotors is at the forefront of fleet electrification. We’ll be providing our customers with a factory-installed electric powertrain that has proven technology relied upon by major fleets, at a price point no one else has been able to achieve. We believe this will be a game changer for shuttle-bus operators.”

The new buses will be able to carry between 14,500 and 19,500 pounds, feature battery configurations from 80kWh to more than 160kWh, and will be able to recharge over a lunch break using Lightning eMotors’ DC fast charge infrastructure. Manufacturing of the shuttles has already begun and several dozens of the new buses are expected to be delivered to Forest River’s dealership later this year.

Kash Sethi, Chief Revenue Officer of Lightning eMotors, said:

“Transit agencies and other shuttle operators, including airports, parking lots, hotels, and corporate and university campuses, have had an increasing selection of options for large full-size electric buses. However, supply for medium-duty electric buses has been limited to smaller EV companies working with regional dealerships to retrofit buses. This model has proven to be neither cost-efficient nor scalable. Now, Forest River is demonstrating it will continue being the leader in the commercial bus market by offering sustainable zero-emission buses as part of their core product portfolio. We believe that will greatly improve the availability of premium-quality, cost-effective electric buses. We look forward to working with Forest River, and their dealer network, in leading the industry through this transformation.”