A Loveland-based company that designs and manufactures electric vehicles for commercial and government fleets has landed an order for 600 vans and trucks from Fluid Truck, which rents commercial vehicles.
The order calls for Lightning Systems to produce an assortment of all-electric Lightning Electric Ford Transit delivery vans and medium-duty trucks. The two companies said in a statement Thursday that the vehicles will be used in major metropolitan areas across the U.S.
“This is an exciting opportunity for both companies due to the rising demand for electric vehicles from commercial customers who have sustainability requirements for their fleets,” said Tim Reeser, CEO of Lightning Systems.
Reeser expects to see demand for electric commercial vehicles to keep rising as cities look at designating zero-emission zones.
In September, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order directing state regulators to develop a plan requiring automakers to sell more zero-emissions passenger vehicles, including electric or hydrogen-powered cars and truck, with the goal of phasing out gas-fueled passenger vehicles by 2035 and heavy-duty trucks by 2045 where possible.
In Colorado, Gov. Jared Polis signed an executive order in 2019 to reaffirm the state’s commitment to increasing the number of electric vehicles and expanding the network of charging stations across the state. The order changed the state’s electric vehicle plan by requiring that state grants to replace older gas- and diesel-powered trucks and fleet vehicles go only for electric vehicles.
The governor’s draft plan to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions targets stepping up the move to electric vehicles.
Reeser told The Denver Post that he believes the electric vehicle market has reached a tipping point, where interest prompted by regulations and peer pressure among businesses has accelerated to the point that economies of scale are making the cars and trucks less expensive to buy, fueling more demand. He said Lightning Systems has reduced its price by as much as 40% for big orders, which helps companies realize savings more quickly due to the much lower fuel and operating costs of all-electric vehicles.
“We’re seeing tremendous acceleration and we see it continuing to accelerate at a very fast pace,” Reeser said.
Lightning Systems has seen a huge increase in orders and sales. Reeser said the company has about $32 million in orders this year after notching about $3 million in sales in 2019.
“Actual on the ground this year, we’ll ship close to $15 million vehicles. We have orders right now for $150 million going forward, of which we’ll ship about $82 million next year,” Reeser said.
Lightning Systems expects to add about 100 workers in 2021 and increase its work space to at least 200,000 square feet from 142,000 square feet.
“Colorado’s small businesses rely on the safe and efficient transportation of their goods and services. This partnership unlocks an environmentally friendly transportation option that’s good for businesses and Colorado’s environment,” Betsy Markey, executive director, Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, said in a statement.
Fluid Truck is a Denver-based company that allows customers to rent commercial vehicles on demand by using their mobile devices. The company operates in 11 markets, including Denver, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, San Diego and Seattle, and plans to add more locations over the next year.
“We have been impressed with Lightning Systems’ capabilities and innovation in the EV space. We believe that electric vehicles will be a great solution for businesses to get the job done sustainably,” James Eberhard, CEO and founder of Fluid Truck, said in a statement.