Lion Logs Largest Electric School Bus Order In North America

MAY 20 2018 BY MARK KANE 18

If you ever wondered who sells most all-electric school buses in North America, it turns out that it’s Lion Electric Co. who sells the most.

Lion Electric – all-electric school bus

Lion and First Priority GreenFleet (its dealer in California, New York and New Jersey) together deployed more than 150 all-electric school buses in the last two years, with more than a million miles driven.

The recently accomplished largest deployment in North America’s history took place in California where approximately 40 eLion school buses were delivered to more than 15 districts over the past 12 months.

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According to the press release, that’s more than all the other OEMs and dealers combined, so the market size must be no bigger than 80 units a year.

The eLion C bus is available with 50, 75 and 100 miles of range and capacity for 72 passengers. Batteries (up to 130 kWh) are supplied by LG Chem, while the electric motor comes from TM4. For charging, Lion Electric uses 19.2 kW on-board single-phase charger.

Soon, the company intends to introduce two more models: eLion A and eLion M, as well as specialty medium- to heavy-duty urban trucks (classes 5 to 8) – for example ambulances, service trucks, cranes or delivery trucks.

“We believe that electrifying school buses is the only environmental, social and economical solution that makes possible protecting our most precious capital, our children,” said Marc Bedard, Lion’s CEO and Founder. “We don’t pretend that electrifying school buses is an easy task because it isn’t. That’s why we spent the last eight years designing our vehicles and the past three years commercializing it. We are by far the only OEM with this kind of experience and track record.”

First Priority GreenFleet, Lion’s dealer in California, New York and New Jersey, has been a major player and key to the success of this process. “We are proud to partner with Lion and help electrify school transportation in California and the New York City metro area,” said Alex Cherepakhov, CEO of First Priority GreenFleet. “We are committed to providing our partners and end-users the most comprehensive set of clean transportation solutions and accompanying technologies supported by the largest independent commercial EV service organization in the country.”

The largest concentration of all-electric school buses is currently in California, where grants and funding options are readily available to help schools purchase Lion’s zero-emission vehicles.

“California air quality agencies currently offer funding options for local school districts looking to electrify their school bus fleets,” mentioned Nate Baguio, Lion’s Vice President of Sales located in California. “Lion is proud that our zero-emission buses are able to support the air quality goals that CARB, regional AQMD’s and California Energy Commission have set to improve the State’s air quality for the citizens of California. We are also thankful for our school district partners for leading the EV movement and are excited to continue assisting them in turning their school bus fleets into a zero-emission, healthy breathing environment for our children and communities.”

Lion is the only integrated OEM that makes its own chassis, battery packs and body. This allows them to use the best components, technologies and control the overall cost of their products; making it possible to offer the best vehicles at the best price.

In addition to distributing the , Lion will also introduce the and this summer, an electric minibus designed to meet school transportation, paratransit and transit requirements. The vehicle will be able to travel 75 to 150 miles and was designed to meet contractor’s demands. “It is very popular already and can be used in so many different ways that we’re calling it our ‘Swiss Army knife’,” summarized Mr. Bedard. It has been designed to integrate future intelligent systems (for example, autonomous driving). Everything we build, we build with the intention to anticipate the next 15 years.”

Lion will also start manufacturing a new complete line of all-electric trucks by the end of the current year, leveraging the technologies developed over the last eight years. We’re talking specifically about specialty medium- to heavy-duty urban trucks (classes 5 to 8). The vehicles can range from ambulances or service trucks, to cranes and delivery trucks.

Peter Rego, Lion’s Chief Commercial Officer USA, also shared that “we are excited to announce that we are now taking pre-orders for all Lion products. The vehicles demonstrate our commitment to cleaner air, a healthy population and overall quality of life, not only for us but also for our future generations. This will allow us to continue as the global leader in the electric bus and heavy vehicle space, and assist us on our journey to electrify the USA!”

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18 Comments on "Lion Logs Largest Electric School Bus Order In North America"

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I guess they’ve won the *Lion’s share* (ba-dum-pah!).

Though they’re in Québec, so more likely the name is “Leon”, which kinda kills the joke..

We actually say “La part du lion” so it works well. And if you had to that batteries are Li (lithium) ions it’s a match made in heaven. Makes it the King of the urban jungle.

This is excellent news, and it should not surprise anyone who reads this site regularly. As I’ve said before, fleet sales are driven by spreadsheets and logistics, not emotions, as consumer sales are. As EVs continue to drop in price, more and more fleet operators will start buying test units. And when those pan out, the flood gates will open and they’ll begin buying EVs in much greater numbers. And that will mean a sudden jump in the miles of travel shifted from fossil fuels to electrons per year. If you’re at all concerned about the various and serial horrors of climate change, then the thought of big fleet adoption of EVs should make you grin from ear to ear.

The day all school buses are converted to EVs can’t come too soon. I always hate sitting behind a school bus at a light and having their diesel fumes blasted right at me.

Or when they run their engines for no reason other than for the driver to keep the AC running while they wait for kids at a field trip. The list of offenses goes on…

19 kW single phase? What voltage/current? Don’t schools have three phase available?

ecoliers (écoliers) is french for student/school children. . but I have only seen buses with this shape in the US, China and Canada. Is Lion a company from the french part of Canada? . . or a US compay that want to sell it to Canada? This must be a huge market. I was surprised to see the number of school buses in the US. We have more smaller schools, so many are within walking/biking distance. If they take a bus, it looks like a normal bus (which it is), or a minibus like a Mercedes Sprinter: Usually black, silver or white, and it is used to transport adults (other customers) after schools to airports, concerts or just regular taxi service where you need more seats and luggage space. Sometimes the contract to transport children to school is won by a bus company, and they may have another company color – so the minibus could be bright green, light blue or something like that. If the minibus is not wrapped, but sprayed in that color, they can be bought cheap after 3-5 years. I bought my Transit minibus this way, so it has a weird color. It is at… Read more »

Weirdly, most of the US has regulation that require school buses to be physically different from other buses, so they can’t be used for other purposes and are typically uses for very few km/week (and not used on weekends), only 1-2 hours/day.
Even more oddly, these regulations don’t make the buses safer in most cases — for example, most US school buses don’t have seatbelts; it’s considered too expensive.

What is the (official) reason for the difference in the bus shape? Are kids supposed to be safer when entering/exiting the bus as everyone knows it’s a school bus? I’m asking because other than that it doesn’t make any sense to have special buses just for schools.

It’s probably related to the fact that transit funds cannot be used to fund any school-specific transportation, so keeping different buses enforces that separation.

I’ve never heard of a good reason. The US school buses are painted bright colors (yellow is typical), and have additional lights/signs to make them visible, but it would cost very little to have such lights on normal buses and simply use them only when they’re employed as school buses.
The US does have special laws re school buses.

Most buses don’t have seatbelts…

In Norway they are mandatory, and you may get a fine if you don’t wear one.

If the bus is old, and it was never fitted with seat belts, then it is not required.
Most buses in comercial use are less then 5 years old, since they will not get a contract if it does not comply with the latest Euro 4 – 5- 6. .. regulations. A lot of buses run on natural gas, or gas from rotting food waste/compost and animal waste products.
That is also why we’ll see a lot of electric buses during the next 5 year period. They have buses for testing now, and if they handle the job, they will start to fase out existing buses.

That is.. class 3 buses have mandatory seat belts. That is buses used for longer distances, and some are used from one city to another too. They have super comfy seats, they are quiet, they usually have a toilet, they offer free beverages (coffe/hot chocolate/tea), newspaper, WIFI and so on. May drive at speeds of up to at least 100km/h, or 110. A class 2 bus may look the same as a class 3, and may even be identical – bus is registered in another class. They are supposed to be used in longer inner city routes, or from one city to another. They may have 40% of the passenger standing. So if they can fit 100 people on the bus, there are seats with belts for 60 passengers, and 40 passengers have to stand with no safety. They may drive in 80-90km/h in parts of the route. Not safe. This class may be deleted when the rules are changed the next time. A class 2 bus usually have cheaper seats then a class 3, if has not as good sound insulation, it usually have no toilet, no beverages and so on – but it may have WIFI. A class… Read more »

That’s true of urban buses in many countries, since 60-70% of the people stand rather than sit, and these buses don’t exceed 30-35mph.
The buses we’re referring to that are used for schools are standard intercity or tour buses, which have seats for all passengers (typically 50-60) and for the past 5-10 years have had mandatory seat belts. The fact that in the US seatbelts are considered too expensive for school buses in most places says a lot about priorities.

Lion is indeed Canadian, based in Québec.

Kids should not have to breathe diesel fumes.