Ricardo and Lightning eMotors have entered into a strategic partnership agreement to deploy electric vehicles in the UK. The US electric retrofitting company will produce powertrains and other elements that Ricardo will then install in commercial vehicles in the UK.
Under the agreement Lightning eMotors will build fully electric powertrains at their facility in Loveland, Colorado for shipment to the UK. Ricardo, an engineering and strategic consulting company headquartered in the UK, will assemble and integrate those powertrains into medium-duty commercial fleet vehicles at one of its manufacturing facilities there. The UK company says it will also source key components for the EV assembly from UK manufacturers, “leveraging the company’s world-renowned expertise in managing complex supply chains in critical electric vehicle components.” Ricardo will also provide supply chain and certification of roadworthiness support. Bp Ventures, Lightning’s largest investor, will provide fleet management expertise through bp Pulse.
“The UK market is especially well-suited for commercial vehicle electrification because the return on investment for fleets is so fast,” said Tim Reeser, CEO of Lightning eMotors. “With fuel prices that are more than double that of the US, and Zero Emission Zones in London and other cities that charge a daily fee to non-zero-emission vehicles, this market will be one of the fastest-growing Commercial ZEV markets in the world.” Reeser continued, “With Ricardo’s automotive expertise and facilities, we will have electric commercial vehicles assembled and running in UK fleets in 2022.”
The powertrains from Lightning eMotors support commercial vehicles ranging from class 3 vans to class 6 trucks to class 8 motor coaches. These will feature battery configurations from 80 kWh to more than 600 kWh using lithium-ion battery technology with liquid thermal management systems. The retrofitted vehicles will thus support ranges on a single charge between 100 kilometres (60 miles) and more than 322 kilometres (200 miles) and can recharge over a lunch break using Lightning eMotors’ DC fast charge infrastructure with integrated vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities. The latter function should be particularly useful in the UK where the rush on electric vehicles threatens to stress local grids. With V2G technology, vehicles can store intermittent renewable energy and feed energy back into the grid at peak times.
Reeser promised, “With Ricardo’s automotive expertise and facilities, we will have electric commercial vehicles assembled and running in UK fleets in 2022.”
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