|Photo Credit: CNW Group/The Lion Electric Co.|
In the rapidly growing marketplace for larger battery-electric vehicles, Canadians can take place pride in the efforts of a thriving Quebec-based company. Adopting their current name Lion Electric Company in 2017, the manufacturer was founded in 2008 as a producer of school and commercial buses in a suburb of Montreal called Saint-Jerome. Lion Electric’s current product portfolio has expanded to include a Class 6 and a Class 8 battery-electric truck suited for a variety of urban-oriented roles.
Based around a similar front end and cab design, the Lion6 and Lion8 lineups are specifically developed as a fully electric platform. Lion Electric boasts lower maintenance and energy costs as advantages for their vehicles over diesel-powered trucks in addition to zero tailpipe emissions.
With a 26,000-pound GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating), the Class 6 Lion6 model range is offered on 195-inch and 212-inch wheelbase length. The Lion6's 250 kilowatt (335-horsepower) and 1,800 ft-lb of torque worth of electrical performance is sent through a direct drive transmission that collectively allows the truck to a top speed of 65 miles per hour (104.61 kilometers per hour). The battery pack onboard the Lion6 allows for a travel distance up to 180 miles (289.6 kilometers) and can be replenished using level 3 quick charging in two hours.
Available in a wider product range, the Lion8 trucks introduce themselves as a solution for many industries. In addition to the convention straight truck Lion8 model with a GVWR reaching up to 60,000 pounds, a bucket, roll-off and a pair of refuse configurations are created around the electrified Class 8 vehicle design. The before-mentioned versions of the Lion8 are equipped with a 350-kilowatt (470-horsepower) electric powertrain that generates up to 2,500 ft-lb of torque. Bendix air disc brakes and a Hendrickson suspension are also incorporated into the design of the electrified urban trucks.
|Photo Credit: CNW Group/IKEA Canada|
Lion Electric’s Class 8 electric truck range also includes a larger distance model for short hauling. While the maximum travel distance for most Lion8 models is between 130 and 170 miles (209.2 and 273.6 kilometers) depending on the layout, the Lion8T can reach up to 260 miles (418.43 kilometers) on a single charge from a 653 kilowatt-hour battery pack. The Lion8T also features greater performance than the other Lion8 trucks with Meritor 2-speed e-axles producing between 536 and 670 horsepower. With a GVWR rated at 82,000 pounds, the Lion8T’s maximum speed of 70 miles per hour (112.65 kilometers per hour) makes it capable to comfortably handle most North American roads. An electrified version of power take-off is offered on both the Lion6 and Lion8 aiding the operations of onboard electrical accessories.
In Canada, the appearance of Lion Electric commercial trucks is set to become more prevalent. Last year, Lion Electric received orders from two prominent companies. At the end of August of 2020, rail and transport giant CN committed to purchasing up to 50 trucks from the Quebec-based electric vehicle manufacturer for intermodal use. Last September, Lion Electric announced 10 of their all-electric trucks were joining the fleet of online delivery giant Amazon. However, this order will sharply increase as much as 2,500 vehicles with Amazon also presented with the option of purchasing an ownership stake in Lion Electric. Second Closet in association with IKEA Canada, Pride Group Enterprises and the Heritage-Romeo Power Fleet Electrification Program have also placed orders for the company’s electric trucks.
In the effort to meet the sizable, growing demand for their urban trucks, Lion Electric has confirmed a large production facility in the United States. Located in Joliet, Illinois, the 900,000 square-foot manufacturing plant has the capacity of producing up to 20,000 vehicles per year. Lion Electric’s Illinois production facility plans to start operating in the second half of 2022.