The Lion Electric Co., a Canadian brand in the making

As most Canadian observers are eager to talk about foreign truck makers coming up with all-electric heavy-duty commercial trucks, they sometimes overlook a very important Canadian truck maker that is already well ahead of the competition: The Lion Electric Co.

Yes, indeed, Lion is ahead of many other start-up truck manufacturers except, probably, China-based BYD — an acronym that stands for ‘Build Your Dream’!

As a matter of fact, Lion is following a similar path to BYD, which made its reputation by providing electric transit buses to many cities around the world. In Lion’s case, the manufacturer based north of Montreal is now well established as a producer of all-electric yellow school buses.

The Lion Type C electric school bus is becoming a familiar sight on Canadian roads.

Recently, Lion has unveiled its first straight-body all-electric cabover heavy-duty ten-wheeled truck, the Lion 8 (top photo). The first prototype shown to the specialized press is powered by electric motors with capabilities up to 350 kW.

Emitting no pollution and no noise, the truck maker promises very low maintenance needs. Actually, Lion promises a reduction of about 80% in energy costs and about 60% in operational costs.

Made in Canada

Lion will be assembling its trucks completely in-house. Other than the SUMO HV3500-9-phase electric motors made by Dana TM4, and parts from the usual truck component suppliers like Hendrickson Suspensions, Bendix Brakes, and others, the trucks will be manufactured in Lion’s Saint-Jérôme plant (a suburb of Montreal), including the composite bodies designed by Montreal-based Paul Deutschman (well known for his work on the Callaway Corvettes).

But wait, there is more! Lion has recently announced a mid-sized all-electric transit bus, the Lion M, and a smaller version that could also be used as a lighter school bus, the Lion A, with some 120- to 240-kilometre ranges.

A more elaborate range of vehicles

Yet Lion is still not done! A few months ago, it invited the press once again to announce that it would be teaming up with some of Quebec’s most important body builders, including Transit (vans), Boivin (trash-collecting), Posi Plus (industrial equipment), PRAM, and Maxi Metal (hydro service trucks) to offer specially equipped commercial trucks. Included in the list was an ambulance version of its smaller Lion A school bus, made with the help of world-renowned Ambulances Demers from South Shore Montreal.

Obviously, it did not take long for Lion to strike again, this time with the announcement of a Lion 8 ten-wheeled cabover highway tractor built specifically for Canadian National, beginning with a first order of eight units.

There are many other start-ups promising similar vehicles around the world. But Lion has already begun delivery of its vehicles… proudly Canadian!

Text: Éric Descarries
Photos: Lion

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