St. Jerome’s Lion Electric will build 10 electric buses for the Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest school district in the United States. The buses are expected to be delivered in spring 2021.
The LAUSD can prove to be a fruitful customer for Lion, the electric vehicle (EV) producer that makes electrified buses and trucks. The LAUSD counts roughly 633,000 students in their system, second only to the New York City School System.
The initial order of 10 LionC school buses follows Lion’s recent delivery of all-electric school buses to the Twin Rivers Unified School District in Sacramento. It’s part of a growing trend towards zero-emission school buses in California and North America.
“LAUSD is possibly the most well-known school district in the United States, and we are pleased to have been chosen as a key partner in their journey toward zero-emission school bus operations,” said CEO Marc Bedard.
Each LionC bus has a range of 150 to 250 kilometres on a single charge and incorporates an integrated wheelchair lift. It can carry up to 72 passengers. Thanks to an electric motor delivering up to 250 kW, 2500 Nm (about 335 HP, 1800 ft-lb.), the LionC has as much or more power than standard diesel engines in the school transportation industry.
Lion will also provide support and training to LAUSD from its recently opened “Experience Center” in Alhambra, California. Lion uses its six experience centers throughout the US as distribution and service points.
The electric buses were funded in part by the California Energy Commission’s (CEC) School Bus Replacement Program, and Lion collaborated closely with LAUSD to add additional options to the base CEC specification to accommodate the unique needs of its routes. The CEC ranked Lion not only as the highest performing manufacturer in its technical evaluation, but also the manufacturer with the most cost-competitive bid.
EVs a hot commodity under Biden plan
According to Lion’s Electric investor presentation in November 2020, the new school bus market is estimated to be 45,000 units a year valued at around $10 billion. This is a bit shy of the medium and urban truck market of 335,000 new units a year, valued at over $110 billion, noted Fisher.
Electric vehicles are extremely hot right now in North America, particularly after Joe Biden’s Clean Energy Plan calls for 500,000 clean energy school buses by 2030. The agenda will continue to generate interest from both school districts and investors for the next several years.
Lion has established itself as a leader in the all-electric school bus industry, having delivered over 300 all-electric school buses in North America with over 6 million miles driven since 2016.
Moreover, Lion has been very busy over the past three months, having announced Amazon as an investor and a purchaser of up to 2,500 of its electric trucks.
As well, Meritor recently signed a three-year supply contract with Lion Electric. Meritor’s new 14Xe electric drive for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles will be installed in Lion Electrics’ Class 8 vehicles.
Big plans for Lion Electric
Lion Electric’s Patrick Gervais told us that the company will soon build out its own battery assembly line manufacturing plant, with a targeted groundbreaking date of March, 2021. They already have the mining capacity and now the company needs a cell manufacturer.
“Everything’s going to be here. It will create a lot of savings on GHG emissions and that will help us reduce our price per vehicle by 50 percent over the next four years,” said Gervais.
After that, Lion Electric will build a vehicle manufacturing plant in the United States with the capacity to produce 20,000 vehicles.
“We are the number one in school bus electrification. We hope to be one of the leaders in heavy duty electric trucks,” he said.