Lightning makes own chassis for commercial EVs
Lightning eMotors has presented its own chassis for electric commercial vehicles. The Lightning eChassis accommodates different battery sizes and configurations, as well as powertrains and wheelbases, to support a variety of commercial applications. The first pre-production vehicles are expected to be available this year.
Lightning Motors has worked with Metalsa, a supplier of structural components and chassis for the automotive and commercial vehicle industries, to develop the new chassis. The eChassis is available for Class 4 and Class 5 chassis and for chassis with and without bodies. Class 4 covers 6,351 to 7,257 kilograms gross weight, class 5 7,258 to 8,845 kilograms.
On average, the new chassis is said to offer 1,500 pounds (680 kilograms) more gross vehicle weight “than platforms on the market today”, which would allow customers more capacity in passenger and payload. The company says that the chassis will be used to build electrified ambulances, shuttle and public transit buses, delivery and refrigerated vans and trucks. The demand here is can be easily estimated by the new and rapidly growing company since they already make electrified ambulances, shuttle and public transit buses, delivery and refrigerated vans and trucks out of existing chassis with an electric drive.
“One of the most exciting aspects of our partnership with Metalsa is the control it gives us over our chassis supply chain,” said Chelsea Ramm, Vice President, 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.”
The chassis is expected to be deployed in the next few months. Lightning Motors expects the first pre-production vehicles from the second quarter of 2022. The company plans to have production vehicles before the end of the year.
Lightning eMotors has seen fairly extraordinary growth in the last couple of years. At the beginning of last year, the company had to expand its production facilities, and towards the end of last year, had to stock up on batteries with Proterra and CATL. Seeing such exponential growth the company has decided to step over the pond and enter UK markets. Last year the company also entered into a strategic partnership with Ricardo, an engineering and strategy consultancy headquartered in the UK.