Lightning Strikes Twice

Charging station/fleet brand stems from Colorado-based EV company

Lightning Systems, the Loveland, Co., developer and manufacturer of zero-emission commercial electric vehicles, announced the launch of Lightning Energy, its new fleet division, on July 29.

The company does design, installation, service, and management for charging infrastructure in the EV industry, “providing fleets with turnkey options to support fleet electrification and help stakeholders achieve their sustainability goals,” according to a press release for the announcement. You may remember the name from our “Names & Faces” department; former Megger/Baker exec Dan Bennett made the switch from selling testing hardware at those companies to joining Lightning just last year.

As a part of Lightning Systems, Lightning Energy will offer “a full range of purchased or leased charging stations and, optionally, full charging as a service (CaaS).” (CaaS generally encompasses infrastructure installation, permitting, utilities liaison, maintenance, and ongoing management software, and regulatory credit monetization, to operate small, medium or large fleets of electric vehicles.)Lightning Energy provides end-to-end fleet charging solutions

“With 12 years of deep experience working with fleets, our team’s understanding of the specific charging needs of fleets of all sizes is extensive,” said Tim Reeser, CEO, Lightning Systems. “We now offer a full array of vehicles and charging solutions as a one-stop shop for all of a fleet’s commercial EV needs.”

Reeser says fleets frequently get excited about deploying electric vehicles but wait until late in the buying process to determine how they are going to charge them. “Many fleets that plan to purchase vehicles don’t have the charging infrastructure in place to use them,” Reeser added. “The simple fact is that getting charging right is hard, complicated work, and it can take longer to install than most realize. Get it wrong and you face either fleet downtime due to insufficient charge, or you spend too much money on stuff you don’t need.”

Lightning aims for a consolidated palette for “all fleet-related charging needs”. This will include overseeing deployment and management, says Brandon McNeil, executive director of operations for the company. “Outsourcing a fleet’s charging infrastructure reduces their exposure to risk and significantly simplifies EV deployment,” McNeil said.

“Our goal was to simplify fleet electrification as much as possible,” McNeil added. “When you combine Lightning Systems’ full array of zero-emission powertrains for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, including Class 3-8 delivery trucks, shuttle buses, passenger vans, chassis-cab models, transit buses and motor coaches, with Lightning Energy’s cradle-to-grave charging solutions, you get an ideal commercial EV solution for fleets. With our integrated telematics and in-house financing and leasing options, you have a true commercial EV as a service (EVaaS) offering that reduces costs and streamlines a fleet’s business.”

Lightning’s lineup of new chargers includes both AC and DC fast charge options, ranging from the more affordable 7.2kW AC chargers to high-output 150kW DC fast chargers, which deliver much shorter charging times for high-battery-capacity commercial EVs.

Lightning also recently introduced a mobile DC fast charger for electric vehicles. Equipped with 184 kWh of high-energy-density, liquid-cooled DC battery storage in a package designed to be installed in a vehicle or trailer for mobile deployment, these can theoretically be deployed to provide faster roadside charging. The mobile charger also offers the capability to recharge EVs on their routes, which can allow fleets to maximize vehicle uptime.

“If you have sustainability as a goal and want to move to an electric fleet, you have to consider your charging options,” Reeser said. “Not only can Lightning remove the headache, but we can do it very cost-effectively because we know the vehicles and the fleet needs intimately, and are able to aggregate utility and regulatory credits.”

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