CN adding 50 Lion Electric tandem tractor trucks to its urban intermodal fleetsEV Fleets
Sep 1, 2020
Luke Sarabia

Lion’s deal with Canadian National is the largest contract in the growing Quebec-based heavy-duty ZEV manufacturer’s history

Jean-Jacques Ruest, CN president and CEO (left), and Marc Bédard, president and founder of Lion Electric, celebrate their deal with a physically distant handshake (Source: Lion Electric)

Lion’s deal with Canadian National is the largest contract in the growing Quebec-based heavy-duty ZEV manufacturer’s history

Canadian National yesterday announced a landmark deal with the Lion Electric Co. that will see the transportation giant purchase 50 Lion8T tandem tractor battery electric trucks from the zero-emission vehicle manufacturer. The news follows the April 2019 launch of a pilot program to test the use of electric trucks custom-built by Lion for the task.

The trucks will be added to CN’s fleets for intermodal use in urban areas — Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, according to Jean-Jacques Ruest, CN’s president and CEO — and will be tested in environments such as urban delivery, container shuttle service and port operations. It is expected that they will remove 100 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the road annually, in addition to reducing urban air and noise pollution.

Showing leadership

“CN is showing leadership by acquiring 50 all-electric Lion trucks,” said Marc Bédard, president and founder of Lion Electric, at yesterday’s announcement. “This order… is a sign of confidence in our company and that now is the time for the electrification of heavy transportation.”

Added Bédard: “Aside from being zero-emission, I believe the Lion electric trucks will be an invaluable addition to CN’s operations. I hope this deal inspires everyone who is looking for an economical, sustainable and environmental transportation solution to switch to electric vehicles.”

A growing Canadian ZEV power

The deal is the largest sale yet for the Saint-Jérôme, Que.-based Lion, which designs and manufactures electric school buses and midi/minibuses in addition to trucks. It also caps off a big summer for the company. In June, Lion announced the sale of 27 electric school buses to Transdev Canada, a Quebec-based subsidiary of the French international public transportation operator.

CN’s Ruest said he was pleased to acquire the zero-emission vehicles from another Quebec company, while also giving a nod to federal efforts to aid businesses in purchasing ZEVs.

“CN has been headquartered in Montreal for more than 100 years and our company employs several thousand people in Quebec, so we are very pleased to support innovation in Quebec,” said Ruest.

“This agreement is also part of our commitment to encourage economic recovery and reduce the carbon footprint of the global supply chain. The regulatory regime put in place by the federal government ensures an environment conducive to such investments.”

Benoit Charrette, Quebec’s minister of the environment and the fight against climate change, also on hand for the announcement, added: “The Quebec government believes in a sustainable economic recovery. … We can be proud of these two companies that want to do business and showcase our know-how while fighting climate change.”

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