Lightning Systems (Loveland, Colorado)
delivered the first two units on an initial order of six Lightning Electric Ford Transit 350HD wheel-chair accessible passenger vans to Freebee, an operator of on-demand public transportation in the South Florida region. Freebee serves local communities through municipal transportation contracts, using a microtransit model which provides passengers with free door-to-door rides.
“The Lightning Electric Transit 350HD passenger van is ideally suited to the emerging microtransit model,” said Tim Reeser, CEO, Lightning Systems. “Our EV powertrain and battery solution is configured and installed to support features such as wheel-chair lifts, aftermarket HVAC systems, and third-party seating configurations. The combination of performance and range, as well as the passenger experience that comes from riding a battery-electric vehicle, all contribute to making it a great choice for door-to-door transit in urban and suburban environments.”
Many of Freebee’s vehicles are in the low-speed electric class, but the requirement for higher passenger capacities and on-freeway operation has led Freebee to evaluate and deploy electric Transit vans. After an extensive evaluation, Freebee selected Lightning Systems. “When we met with Tim and the team and saw the facility and the sophistication of their software, analytics and upfit, we felt very comfortable giving them our business,” said Jason Spiegel, Freebee’s Managing Partner.
Unlike scheduled transit buses, Freebee’s routes are not consistent. This makes it critical to know the vehicles’ locations and state of battery charge at all times. Lightning Analytics, the sophisticated data capture and analysis platform implemented on all of Lightning’s vehicles, is key. “Being able to monitor the batteries in real time, and understanding how long it’s going to take to charge back up to capacity to continue on a route is extremely important to our business and our operations,” Spiegel said.
Freebee’s choice of battery-electric vehicles aligns with their mission of reducing the carbon footprint associated with local transportation. This also contributes to municipal sustainability goals, as well as providing cleaner air on the roads.
The vans delivered to Freebee went into service almost immediately after delivery. “Lightning is delivering high-quality powertrains on platforms that customers already know and love, made in the USA, with features like ADA accessibility, while OEMs and some of our competitors are talking about electric prototypes possibly arriving in 2023,” Reeser said. “Even when those do arrive, they won’t have the flexibility to support the breadth of size and upfit options that Lightning does today. By 2023 we will have four years of deep customer engagement and important fleet drive-cycle data from our world-class analytics, allowing us to provide the custom solutions that commercial fleets require.”
For more information, visit lightningsystems.com.
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