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Lion Electric debuts medium-duty Lion5 truck

The truck is slated for production by year's end.

IMAGE: The Lion5 truck
The new Class 5 electric truck, the Lion5. (Courtesy The Lion Electric Company)

Saint-Jérôme, Que.-based The Lion Electric Company has unveiled its newest truck model, the Lion5 all-electric Class 5.

Lion (LEV-T) premiered the truck during the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Anaheim, Calif.

The new model is considered a medium-duty truck and offers a maximum payload of up to 12,500 pounds. It is slated for production before year-end, and is also capable of crossing over into Class 6 to carry larger loads.

“I think that the Class 5 trucking market, after the Class 8 tractors, is probably the biggest market in North America,” Patrick Gervais, Lion Electric’s vice-president of trucks and public relations in Canada, told SustainableBiz. “(There are) multiple uses for it, especially for last-mile delivery and other applications like construction, yard works, utilities and small buckets for communications companies.”

Lion Electric creates, designs and manufactures all-electric Class 5 to Class 8 commercial urban trucks, and all-electric buses and minibuses for the school, para-transit and mass transit segments.

The Lion 5 is the culmination of several years of development work.

“It takes about five years to develop a truck from beginning to end until it's commercialized,” Gervais said.

The Lion5

The Lion5 offers configurations of 19,500 pounds up through 26,000 pounds, in gross vehicle weight rating. The truck is capable of 315 horsepower, 2,360 pounds per foot of torque, and can be equipped for a gross combined weight rating up to 30,000 pounds.

It is powered by Lion Electric's 800-volt LionBattery packs – marking their first installation in a Lion Electric vehicle. Gervais stated the batteries have about 70 kilowatt-hours per pack and they have the capability to be charged to 80 per cent in 90 minutes – with a driving range of approximately 321 kilometres.

The cab is 96 inches wide, with an optional cutaway configuration, and is based on the same chassis which will be used in the Lion Ambulance.

The truck is available for sale now on a per-vehicle basis, with Gervais saying it costs approximately “three times as much as a diesel.”

Plans to improve the vehicle in the future include switching from liquid suspension to leaf suspension, and adding a fourth battery pack – which in turn adds more range to the truck, about another 100 kilometres.

“It's always making sure that you can put a lot of merchandise on the vehicle and also do as much range as possible,” Gervais said. “So it's the right balance between weight and payload.”

Lion’s electric trucks

The batteries will be manufactured at the company’s recently opened 175,000-square-foot Mirabel, Que. facility, which is expected to reach a production capacity of 1.7 gigawatt-hours by the end of the year. At full scale, it should have an annual production capacity of five gigawatt-hours of batteries.

Lion Electric states this would electrify approximately 14,000 medium and heavy-duty vehicles per year, depending on the vehicle mix.

The Lion5 will be manufactured at Lion Electric’s Saint-Jérôme facility first, and then the Joliet, Ill. facility once it reaches full capacity. When that happens, the company expects to be able to manufacture – across its entire production line – 22,500 electric buses and trucks per year.

“At the Saint-Jérôme facility, we’re set up to produce 1,500 trucks and 1,000 buses. In Joliet, Illinois, we’re we're going to be set up to produce 15,000 trucks and 5,000 buses,” Gervais explained. “Obviously, we could we could adjust accordingly to which product (has) the most orders. But that's what's planned right now.”

Lion Electric’s approach extends beyond the vehicles to the charging and infrastructure needed to support them – one reason it is manufacturing the batteries. It also helps solve a supply-chain concern.

Chris Manuel, Lion Electric’s business development manager, recently spoke at a 360 Energy forum in Oakville, Ont., saying, “The ability to source batteries has been a problem, probably, for all OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).”

For the vehicles themselves, Lion Electric is focused on improving range and charging capabilities.

“We believe in five or seven years from now, we will be able to do six, seven, probably 800 kilometres on a single charge,” Gervais said. “But you'll be able to charge in 20 minutes, maybe 30 minutes at the most, at 80 per cent or more.”

“We could do 1,000 kilometres on a single range today. But you wouldn't be able to put any payload in the vehicle because the batteries are so heavy.”

Lion Electric's recently released Q1 results showed revenue of approximately $73.2 million in the period ending on March 31, compared with $30.2 million in the same period a year earlier. Lion said it delivered 220 vehicles in the quarter, 136 more than it shipped in the first quarter of 2022.

Due to increased investment in manufacturing facilities and costs associated with inventory management, the company recorded a loss of $20.8 million, compared with net income of $2.8 million during the same period in 2022.

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