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Lightning Systems to Convert HOP Diesel Bus to Zero-Emission Vehicle


  • Repowered battery-electric 35-foot bus will be on the road in Boulder, Colorado in summer 2018.
  • LightningElectric200 product will serve Boulder’s HOP route with a range of more than 200 all-electric miles, improving air quality in communities served and reducing vehicle maintenance costs.


BOULDER, Colo., May 2, 2018 – Lightning Systems, a global developer of zero-emission solutions for commercial fleets, is partnering with the City of Boulder and Via Mobility Services to repower diesel buses with battery-electric systems. The first demonstration vehicle will be on the road this summer and will give the bus more than 200 miles of all-electric range.

Via operates Boulder’s HOP transit route, a high-frequency shuttle service serving Boulder hot spots like the University of Colorado campus and Downtown Boulder. This project will be the first step for the City of Boulder and Via in realizing their combined goal of converting the HOP fleet of 35-foot transit buses to zero- emission all-electric vehicles.

Upon the success of the first vehicle, additional HOP service buses may be converted, providing an efficient and cost-effective alternative to replacing the entire fleet with new electric buses. Repowering an existing diesel transit bus with the LightningElectric product will cost a third of the price of a new electric bus. In addition, there is a backlog of two years or more for new electric buses from other manufacturers, so the repowered buses will allow Via and the City of Boulder to quickly reach their goal of an all-electric fleet in an expedited timeframe. The city and Via staff plan to continue to transition the entire HOP fleet to zero-emission vehicles in the near-term.

“People in Boulder are very interested in reducing the carbon footprint in all that we do,” said Frank Bruno, chief executive officer, Via Mobility Services. “Boulder is built on a strong value system for recycling, so why not recycle our buses? Recycle them and make buses out of buses. That’s the motivation we’ve had for doing this. We hope that, upon approval, this partnership with Lightning Systems will blow the market open for repowering old buses around the country, reduce emissions in local environments, and stabilize costs for the future.”

Via and the City of Boulder have a long-standing partnership and share a common goal. “Repowering this demonstration vehicle with Lightning Systems helps us on our path to meeting our greenhouse gas emission and climate commitment goals,” said Natalie Stiffler, Boulder senior transportation planner. She added that Boulder and Via are working on the Resiliency Project, a renewable energy project focused on adding solar at Via’s facility, which currently powers 30 percent of its business using solar energy. “The long-term plan is that we’ll be able to fuel the vehicles with the solar energy that’s collected at Via’s site,” Stiffler said.

In February 2017, the City of Boulder and Via secured federal and state funding for the purchase of their first electric bus, along with charging infrastructure to serve the HOP transit route. Via’s 63rd Street facility has a large solar array and is in the process of installing battery storage and on-site generation capabilities.

“Lightning is thrilled about this new relationship,” said Charlie Travis, director of business development and strategic accounts for Loveland-based Lightning Systems. “It is compelling for three reasons: it’s sustainable, high quality, and an exceptional value for the money.”

“By repowering the buses and by using federal and state incentives to go green with their fleet, the City of Boulder and Via are saving green while going green,” Travis added. “This project is a great example of how to take something that has a lot of usable life left and breathe new energy into it in a sustainable way. And don’t forget, Lightning is located in Northern Colorado – so this project employs people locally and benefits the local community.”

About Lightning Systems
Lightning Systems, a leader in zero-emission solutions for fleets around the world, is a fast-growing company headquartered in Loveland, Colorado. The company offers products to support commercial and government fleets, including the LightningElectric, a zero-emission full-electric powertrain designed for fleets, with a hydrogen fuel-cell option; LightningAnalytics, a cloud-based analytics system for fleet vehicles; and LightningHybrid, a hydraulic hybrid energy recovery system for heavy-duty vehicles. To learn more, visit www.lightningsystems.com.

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