The Canadian commercial vehicle manufacturer Lion Electric has won its largest-ever single order for electric school buses. Lion Electric will deliver 260 LionC to First Student, a provider specialising in school transportation.
According to Lion Electric, the order – or rather the delivery of the ordered vehicles – will make First Student the largest operator of zero-emission school buses in North America. Delivery of the electric school buses is expected to begin in the second half of 2021 and be completed by the first half of 2023.
First Student already operates a number of Lion electric buses and is familiar with the technology. The buses now on order will be operated by Transco, First Student’s subsidiary operating in Quebec. Together, First Student and the bus manufacturer, through its subsidiary Lion Energy, will build the necessary infrastructure for the deployment of the vehicles.
For Marc Bedard, founder and CEO of Lion, the current order shows that the company’s own models and production capacity will meet market demands. “First Student’s leadership demonstrates that zero-emission technology is here to meet the needs of the market at scale, as is our production capacity – we are not talking about pilot programs, but rather entire bus fleets going electric, with vehicles that meet the daily requirements of the industry’s largest operators,” Bedard said.
“Electrification of school buses has already begun and will accelerate rapidly,” said Paul Osland, president of First Student. Osland has a good point: just in February this year we reported that under the new US administration, school bus services in the USA are rapidly transitioning off fossil fuels. Also in North America, and conveniently in Lion Electric’s Canadian home province of Quebec, the government announced its intention to electrify most school buses in less than ten years.
Lion Electric’s core business may be all-electric school buses, but the company has been working on a line of electric -utility vehicles since 2018 – where very different unit numbers beckon. In January 2021, it was revealed that Amazon plans to procure up to 2,500 Lion6 and Lion8 e-trucks by 2025 – in addition to electric delivery trucks built in partnership with Rivian.