Interviews
24 oct 23

Eying the zero emission Class 6 truck by Lion Electric

When it comes to the world of medium-duty delivery trucks in North America or to say those in the Class 6 range, considering an electric-powered model could be a viable option for your operations. 

While some Class 6 trucks are seeing less demand owing to the softening of the housing and construction market in 2023, the demand for more fuel-efficient models are not as impacted, according to S&P Global Mobility which also highlighted that the licensing requirements and higher cost of Class 7 trucks today are pushing more Class 6 demand.

Producing fuel efficient models, or to say those that don’t even use fuel, is Quebec-based Lion Electric which manufacturers Class 5-8 all-electric urban trucks for the North American market. 

On the sidelines of the Merchants Fleet Summit in New Hampshire at the beginning of September, I spoke with Lion Electric Customer Experience Technician John Vaughn about the Lion6, their category 6 truck that was featured at the event.  


Lion6 (source: Global Fleet, Daniel Bland)

According to Mr. Vaughn, the Lion6 on display (with up to 26,000 GVWR) was equipped with a Morgan dry box on it and six BMW battery packs of 42 kilowatts apiece (252kw), giving it a driving range of 200 miles. 

“While we build the chassis, we team up with other suppliers, namely Hendrickson suspensions, Dana rear axles, Bendix disc brakes, and TRW hydraulic steering systems. Designed and built in Quebec, it is made to handle both cold weather operations as well as in high heat conditions,” Mr. Vaughn said. 

As it is electric, the truck cab is quiet and smooth and easy to drive. “Drivers love it as they can drive all day and not feel fatigued,” the technician said. 

As for payload, cargo capacity really depends on the outfit configured and this is based on customer needs. 

The truck at the event had a standard lightweight box and no lift-gate which would be an extra 1,000 pounds. However, it did have six battery packs weighing a total of 3,600 pounds (600 apiece) and air brakes which are approximately 700 pounds heavier than hydraulic brakes.

It had a payload capacity of 7,000 pounds or so, and a range of 200 miles and, according to the technician, customers usually look for a payload capacity of 8,000 to 8,500 pounds.

Remember that the Lion6 can be customized. Some customers may need less range but more payload, so only install the battery pack you need. For instance, if you have routes that total 100 miles per day, you could cut back and only use four battery packs which gives you 140 miles of range. 

Recharging 

In terms of recharging, most customers recharge a Class 6 truck at a depot located at the office where the vehicle is housed. Fleet managers could use an AC charger (slower) which maxes out at 19.2kw or a faster DC level three charger. 

Owing to the six battery-packs (252kw), a level two charger would take a long time to charge so the company recommends level three charging for such a vehicle. For instance, a 60kw charger would take approximately four hours to charge if the battery back was totally depleted. 

“In terms of chargers, we have no specific partner, but we do work with companies such as ABB, Blink Charging, and Charge Point. One of the chargers we like to use in the field is the CP 250 by Charge Point which is 60-62kw. Remember that we can help you set up your tailor-made charging infrastructure,” Mr. Vaughn said.

Although Lion Electric started building school buses in 2008 and delivering them in 2016, it only recently started building the Lion 6 in 2021. Offering refrigerated, dry freight, and aluminum platform body trucks in various classes, the company has recently formed partnerships with outfit options from industry leaders Morgan Truck Body, Thermo King, Knapheide and CM Truck Beds.

The company already has several customers in Canada (Amazon, DHL, Ikea, and others) and it is seeking to gain more traction in the United States. “As Canada has a little better funding and incentives, it will be a bit more difficult in the US but I do see that the push for EVs is on the rise in the states and that is a good thing for us,” said Mr. Vaughn.   

Top photo: John Vaughn (left) with Global Fleet Editor of the Americas Daniel Bland in front of the Lion6 (source: Global Fleet, Daniel Bland) 

Authored by: Daniel Bland
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