Lightning Systems Plans Hydrogen/Electric Ford Transit Cargo Van

March 07, 2018 by Sebastian Blanco, @SebastianBlanco

Lightning Systems debuted an electric Ford Transit cargo van that uses a hydrogen fuel cell to extend the range to 200 miles at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis Tuesday.

The company said government incentives for hydrogen vehicles will underwrite much of the cost of the modification for customers.

The Ford Transit 350 HD will be available in three versions, two entirely electric models with ranges of either 50 or 100 miles, and one with the hydrogen fuel cell range extender.

“If you want an all-electric product on a Ford Transit, we are the answer today,” said Tim Reeser, Lightning Systems chief executive.

electric ford transit

Lightning Systems’ electric Ford Transit cargo van. (Photo: Sebastian Blanco/

Deliveries for the electric models start this month. Converting a Ford Transit to the 50-mile electric model costs $69,000, while the 100-mile model costs $89,000 for the conversion. The price for the hydrogen range extender will be announced closer to when deliveries start in September.

Environmental incentive programs in California and New York will underwrite most of the additional outlay, Reeser said. For fiscal year 2017, there was about $54 million available for electric and hybrid technologies through California’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project.

“You can get a Ford Transit, electrified and fuel cell, and they will offset up to 90 percent of the cost up to $300,000,” David Brosky, vice president of sales for Lightning Systems, told “That’s not going to happen forever, but to help us get volume, it brings the price down. “

Sales will be “difficult” in states where there are no subsidies for adopting the technology, Brosky said.

“That’s why we’re focusing on New York City and California. That’s where it’s at. There’s such an attitude there of embracing [hydrogen there], that it’s hard to ignore,” he said.

Future announcements will involve Class 5 and 6 trucks as well as additional bus and van options.

“Every one of those will have the hydrogen range extender option,” Reeser said. “It becomes a modular aspect to the rest of our vehicles.”

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Research: 2018 Ford Transit 350HD

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