Lightning eMotors, a frontrunner in zero-emission commercial vehicle provision and electric vehicle technology, has confirmed its agreement to supply six Lightning ZEV4™ electric shuttle buses to Vanderbilt University. Slated for deployment in Q2 2023, the buses will be part of the university’s intercampus transportation service, VandyRide.
Why It Matters
This partnership demonstrates Vanderbilt’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint and leading the way in sustainable practices among American universities. By transitioning to an all-electric transportation system, Vanderbilt exemplifies its dedication to sustainable innovation in academic institutions. Moreover, Lightning eMotors sees this partnership as an opportunity to showcase the capabilities of its electric vehicle technology, particularly the performance, quiet ride, and reduced maintenance of the Lightning ZEV4.
The six zero-emission buses, constructed on the GM-based Lightning ZEV4 platform, boast 120 kWh of thermally-managed Proterra battery packs, offering up to 130 miles of range. They also support Level 2 AC and DC fast charge capability. With a 159-inch wheelbase, each bus can carry 14 passengers and has been fitted with shuttle bus bodies provided by Forest River.
Vanderbilt University is leasing these six vehicles from Forest River dealer Carpenter Bus Sales. Vanderbilt’s partner, Electrada, will support the charging infrastructure. Furthermore, Lightning’s premier EV fleet telematics software, Lightning Insights, will equip the vehicles, providing real-time telematics and charge management.
The addition of electric shuttle buses is the latest move in Vanderbilt University’s sustainability initiatives. The university recently activated the 35-megawatt Vanderbilt I Solar Farm in Bedford County, Tennessee, drastically reducing its indirect greenhouse gas emissions. A second planned solar farm in Moore County will supply enough renewable energy to offset remaining emissions.
In 2021, Vanderbilt became the first Association of American Universities member to reach carbon neutrality, thanks to its renewable energy initiatives and a partnership with Climate Vault. It has also partnered with Clearloop to further its renewable energy commitments. Vanderbilt’s progressive shift to electric shuttle buses underscores its determination to minimize direct emissions, further solidifying its status as a sustainability leader in the higher education sector.