Lightning eMotors will supply six Lightning ZEV4 electric shuttle buses to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. The shuttles are expected to be delivered and deployed in Q2 2023 for the intercampus transportation service, VandyRide.

The zero emission shuttle buses are built on the GM-based Lightning ZEV4 platform and feature 120 kWh of thermally-managed Proterra battery packs that deliver up to 130 stated miles of range and support both Level 2 AC and DC fast charge capability. Vanderbilt’s vehicles ride on a 159-inch wheelbase and have been upfitted with shuttle bus bodies from Forest River to carry 14 passengers each. 

Proterra batteries for Lightning eMotors e-buses

According to a deal signed in 2021, Proterra contracted to supply battery systems totaling more than 900 megawatt hours in battery storage capacity to Lightning eMotors to power up to 10,000 electric commercial vehicles between 2022 and 2025.

Vanderbilt is leasing the initial pilot run of six vehicles from Forest River dealer Carpenter Bus Sales (deal between Lightning and Forest River dates back to March 2022), with charging infrastructure supported by Vanderbilt partner Electrada. The vehicles will also be equipped with Lightning’s fleet telematics software, Lightning Insights. This real-time telematics and charge management suite features an API for seamless integration with Electrada’s charging infrastructure.

Lightning eMotors with electric buses for campus

“A top 20 university nationally, Vanderbilt is renowned for its transformative approach to education and research. It is an honor for us to be a chosen fleet electrification provider as they transform their intercampus student transportation to zero-emission, all-electric platforms,” said Jeremy Hiler, sales director, Eastern US at Lightning eMotors. “We are confident drivers, passengers and fleet managers will appreciate the electric performance, quiet ride and reduced maintenance, and of course, the environmental benefits of the Lightning ZEV4.”

“Vanderbilt is committed to lowering its carbon footprint, so switching to electric vehicles in our shuttle fleet is a top priority,” said Lindsey Ganson, assistant director of mobility at Vanderbilt University. “We’re so excited to have our Lightning ZEV4 shuttles in action before the fall semester begins, and we are looking forward to working with Lightning.”


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