WINTER GARDEN, Fla, Oct., 30, 2020 – ABC Companies, a leading provider to the motorcoach, transit and specialty passenger transportation market in the United States and Canada, will soon be the first to offer a motorcoach-diesel-to-electric-repower program for North American operators.
Together with Lightning eMotors, formerly known as Lightning Systems, the partners have created a five-step process for identifying, assessing and converting a wide range of “donor” diesel coach models that fit the criteria for fast-track battery electric conversion. The repower kits are engineered by Lightning eMotors and will be installed by ABC technicians. The program will launch under ABC Companies SVT (Specialty Vehicles and Technologies) division, underscoring the company’s focus on lowering EV market cost of entry barriers for coach operators.
“ABC Companies has a very long history of repower and refurbishment expertise, making conversions to battery electric power a logical next step,” said Roman Cornell, president and chief commercial officer of ABC Companies. By sourcing leading suppliers and manufacturers, we will provide a portfolio of offerings and price points that will enable our customers to accelerate their introduction of zero-emission vehicles into their fleets. Although the pandemic has impacted the motorcoach market, we are working to get traditional vehicles back on the road, while investing now with innovative new solutions that will address customers’ needs for environmentally-friendly vehicles as the industry begins to recover.”
In spite of these challenging times, many ABC customers and the clients they serve are developing strategies to reduce their carbon footprint, a trend that was started well before the pandemic, noted Cornell. With the cost of current options that organizations face to reduce their carbon footprint ranging from clean energy like solar panels to the enormous expense of upgrading or building new energy-efficient facilities, battery-electric coaches suddenly become an attractive lower-cost alternative
“Zero-emission coaches can offer a lower-cost investment while producing immediate benefits to the environment. With the variety of incentives for all-electric transportation, many customers are investing now before funding is depleted or no longer available,” Cornell added. “Many see zero-emission coaches as a mobile billboard in their communities, demonstrating an organization’s commitment to the communities where they work and live. The realm of possibilities is exciting, and ABC will work to educate and promote its EV-based solutions to customers in partnership with Lightning eMotors.”
Cornell cited reduced total cost of ownership and monetizing older assets as tangible benefits when specifically looking to add EV Repower to fleets.
The new partnership between ABC Companies and Lightning eMotors was formed after a global search for a master service provider with the scope, scale, experience and expertise to develop EV Repower kits for a variety of customers and vehicle applications. Lightning eMotors is a leading developer of zero-emission electric powertrains for a wide variety of commercial vehicles and is certified by CARB and multiple OEM chassis certification programs.
In addition to providing a full range of motorcoach zero emission vehicle (ZEV) Repower options, ABC will also be an authorized referral agent for repowering many popular shuttle vans and cutaway applications such as the Lightning Ford Transit passenger van, E-450 and F-550 chassis. “The ability to assist in electric repowered solutions for our customers using these popular vehicles made Lightning eMotors a great fit for ABC Companies,” Cornell said. “Many of our customers utilize these smaller vehicles for various short distance routes, such as airport runs and hotel shuttles, as well as last-mile services for smaller groups. These vehicles can provide a lower cost of entry as fleets identify vehicles to be repowered, and we need to be ready to meet those needs.”
The first repowered motorcoach, a 2012 Van Hool T2145 will be going into operation in the San Francisco area this month, while other motorcoach models are being readied as this is written.
“When Roman and I took this zero emissions motorcoach out for a drive for the first time together, both of us couldn’t stop smiling—the smoothness, the quietness, the power—we both could see that this changes the motorcoach business forever. We are now accelerating additional rollouts of new repower options for a multitude of new motorcoach platforms.,” said Tim Reeser, CEO of Lightning eMotors. “ABC’s expertise in the motorcoach market and deep knowledge of their large customer base’s needs and requirements combined with Lightning’s proven technical proficiency, provides a powerful, fast, cost-effective zero-emission option specifically engineered to support each operator’s sustainability goals.”
In addition to delivering the first repowered motorcoach application and launching the Lightning eMotors EV Repower kit option, ABC will also debut its first fully battery-electric OEM-produced Van Hool motorcoach later in 2020, the Van Hool CX45E. Featured at the 2020 UMA Expo and designed specifically for battery electric power, this new coach from Van Hool will change the way the industry views zero-emissions motorcoach travel.
“We must continually reassess our offering based on customer needs,” Cornell said. “Aligning with the right partners to bring scalable and flexible solutions to our customers is what drives our business strategies. Whether our customer needs an EV passenger van or a double-deck motorcoach, ABC is ready to help any sized fleet operator shape a solution around their resources and requirements for the long-term. We are also adding repowered Ford Transit passenger vans to our electric-powered ABC demo fleet, allowing customers to experience the many benefits of EV travel, while helping to educate our industry on the viability of these vehicles in their fleets,” Cornell added. “Even against the backdrop of our industry’s unprecedented challenges, technology moves forward. Because the success of ABC has always been tied to our customers’ success, we cannot allow our industry to fall behind this technology curve and lose out on the funding and other support many industries are already receiving. Motorcoach travel has always contributed to lowering carbon emissions, and the movement to electric power presents the opportunity for our industry to receive the accolades and increased ridership it truly deserves.”
ABC Companies is a leading provider to the transportation industry with diverse product and service offerings that cover a full spectrum of operational needs including new and pre-owned full-size highway coach equipment along with transit and specialty vehicles. ABC supports customers with a comprehensive after sale service network for service and repairs, collision services, extensive OEM and quality aftermarket parts needs for transit, motorcoach and heavy-duty equipment from ten strategically placed locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, private and municipal financing and leasing options are available through the company’s financial services group – one of the largest financial service providers within the industry. For more information, contact ABC Companies at 800-222-2875 or visit the company web site at www.abc-companies.com.
Lightning eMotors provides complete electrification solutions for commercial fleets – from Class 3 cargo and passenger vans to Class 6 work trucks, Class 7 city buses, and Class 8 motor coaches. The Lightning team designs, engineers, customizes, and manufactures electric vehicles to support the wide array of fleet customer needs, with a full suite of telematics, analytics, and charging solutions to simplify the buying and ownership experience and maximize uptime and energy efficiency. For more information, contact Lightning eMotors at 800-223-0740 or visit lightningemotors.com.