Dan Bennett, Lightning eMotors
Zev Metalsa Chassis 2 61d4c32ac2b9a

Lightning eMotors, Metalsa Roll Out EV-Specific Chassis

Jan. 4, 2022
The Colorado company says its collaboration on a platform for Class 4 and 5 vehicles opens up new market segments.

Fleet-focused electric vehicle manufacturer Lightning eMotors has partnered with a global chassis maker on a platform purpose-built for commercial EVs.

Lightning eMotors’ work with Metalsa, which runs four manufacturing plants in the United States, on the Lightning eChassis gives customers Class 4 and Class 5 options able to support about 1,500 pounds more than platforms on the market today, allowing for greater passenger or payload capacity when equipped as shuttle buses, delivery or refrigerated trucks or ambulances, for instance.

The Lightning eMotors team led by CEO Tim Reeser expects pre-production units of its new model to be available in the second quarter. Production units are expected by year’s end. Reeser said the Metalsa collaboration pushes Colorado-based Lightning into market segments still underserved by EV options. It also helps address some of the supply chain problems that pushed 60 expected Lightning sales – the company  – from the fourth quarter into the early part of this year.

“One of the most exciting aspects of our partnership with Metalsa is the control it gives us over our chassis supply chain,” said Chelsea Ramm, Lightning’s vice president of global supply chain. “Constraints on the automotive supply chain have impacted the entire EV market. The Lightning eChassis provides our customers with additional options and the flexible architecture to accommodate a variety of different powertrain needs and wheelbases.”

Joe El-Behairy, president of Metalsa’s e-mobility division, in a statement called Lightning “the perfect customer” to introduce his group’s new product. Metalsa has its U.S. commercial office in Detroit and runs three plants in Kentucky as well as one in Roanoke, Virginia. Headquartered in Monterrey, Mexico, the company makes a range of structural components and chassis models for light trucks and employs more than 11,000 people.

Shares of Lightning (Ticker: ZEV) rose more than 4% Jan. 3 to close at $6.29. They have fallen about 18% over the past six months.

About the Author

Geert De Lombaerde | Senior Editor

A native of Belgium, Geert De Lombaerde has been in business journalism since the mid-1990s and writes about public companies, markets and economic trends for Endeavor Business Media publications, focusing on IndustryWeek, FleetOwner, Oil & Gas JournalT&D World and Healthcare Innovation. He also curates the twice-monthly Market Moves Strategy newsletter that showcases Endeavor stories on strategy, leadership and investment and contributes to other Market Moves newsletters.

With a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, he began his reporting career at the Business Courier in Cincinnati in 1997, initially covering retail and the courts before shifting to banking, insurance and investing. He later was managing editor and editor of the Nashville Business Journal before being named editor of the Nashville Post in early 2008. He led a team that helped grow the Post's online traffic more than fivefold before joining Endeavor in September 2021.

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