Ford Motor Co. has given Loveland’s Lightning Hybrids its stamp of approval as one of three hybrid powertrain manufacturers in a new Ford program.
The automaker announced the selection of Lightning Hybrids during this week’s Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.
According to a press release from Ford, the company expanded its Advanced Fuel Qualified Vehicle Modifier program to include one hydraulic and two electric hybrid manufacturers as the first in its new eQVM lineup.
The original program includes more than 200 companies that Ford has identified as qualified to convert its commercial vehicles into motor homes, school buses, emergency vehicles, limousines and more.
“This is a really big deal,” said Bonnie Trowbridge, vice president of marketing and communications for Lightning Hybrids, speaking Thursday from the company’s booth at the truck show.
“The biggest part of this is their acknowledgment that our system works on their vehicles” and that the Ford warranty remains in effect after a Lightning Hybrids system is installed, she said.
Lightning Hybrids makes systems that brake a vehicle, store the energy from that deceleration and then apply it to the wheels to help the vehicle accelerate. The systems provide the most benefit to vehicles that do a lot of stop-and-go driving such as shuttle buses and delivery trucks.
The company says its systems cut a vehicle’s nitrogen oxide emissions in half and carbon dioxide emissions by 25 percent and reduce fuel consumption and wear on the brakes.
At least half of Lightning Hybrids’ 120-plus systems now on the road are installed in Ford vehicles, Trowbridge said. The systems can go on the Ford E-350 and E-450 chassis, F-350 and F-550 Super Duty trucks, F-650 and F-750 medium-duty trucks and F-59 chassis.
“Here at the truck show alone, we saw a lot of Ford dealers express a lot of interest,” Trowbridge said. Ford’s action gives the dealers the confidence to promote the system to their customers, she said.
Lightning Hybrids went through an 18-month vetting process, she said, which brought Ford representatives to the company’s Loveland facilities a few times to talk to engineers, watch the installation process and test-drive vehicles outfitted with the system.
Ford’s new eQVM program also includes XL Hybrids of Boston and Motiv Power Systems of Foster City, Calif., both of which make electric hybrid systems.