After expanding to make electric trucks, B.C.-based Vicinity Motor courts $14-million order from Pioneer Auto GroupNews
Nov 12, 2021
Mehanaz Yakub

Known as a bus manufacturer, Vicinity Motor Corp. recently set its sights on also becoming an electric truck supplier — a plan that just got a big boost with a potential order from a B.C. auto retailer for 100 Class 3 trucks worth $14 million

Vicinity Motors is transitioning to an electric truck supplier and recently broke ground on a new manufacturing plant.

Known as a bus manufacturer, Vicinity Motor Corp. recently set its sights on also becoming an electric truck supplier — a plan that just got a big boost with a potential order from a B.C. auto retailer for 100 Class 3 trucks worth $14 million

Vicinity Motor Corp., a commercial vehicles manufacturer based in Aldergrove, B.C., has received a letter of intent from Pioneer Auto Group for an order of 100 of its VMC 1200 model medium-duty Class 3 electric trucks.

The trucks will be built at Vicinity Motor’s newest manufacturing plant in the State of Washington, which broke ground this summer and is slated to begin operation in the first half of 2022. The facility will be compliant with the “Buy America Act” and is part of the company’s strategy to grow its presence in the United States. 

Pioneer is a retail automotive dealer that owns 17 locations across British Columbia. The company carries over 1,500 vehicles in its network including a range of combustion engines, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles. However, this will be the first time it will be retailing Class 3 trucks to its customers. 

“This is a major milestone for our vehicle product line to offer the VMC 1200 popular cab-over chassis design with an EV powertrain,” said Ray Van Empel, president and CEO of Pioneer in a press release. “We look forward to selling these new VMC 1200 throughout our dealerships.”

Purchase rebates from B.C.

The deal is still subject to the execution of a dealer agreement. But if everything goes to plan, the trucks will cost Pioneer a total of $14 million and will be delivered by next year.

Recently, Vicinity Motor announced that under British Columbia’s CleanBC Go Electric Specialty Use Vehicle Incentive Program, its 1200 Class 3 EV trucks — along with its Vicinity Lightning EV bus — will be eligible for commercial vehicle rebates of up to 33 per cent of the purchase price.

“These savings can be significant for our prospective customers, ranging from over $40,000 for a medium-duty Class 3 vehicle,” said William Trainer, founder and CEO of Vicinity Motor in a press release. “We believe the rebates will further position our EVs at a price point very suitable for mass deployment, increasing sales and building shareholder value.”

Trainer also added that, “The new rebates from the CleanBC Go Electric Program are intended to encourage and accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles in British Columbia for both their environmental and economic benefits — and our Lightning EV and VMC 1200 Class 3 truck perfectly aligns with these goals by providing the versatility to support countless transit and industrial applications.”

Segue into electric trucks

Formerly known as Grand West Transportation, Vicinity Motor used to focus exclusively on supplying electric, compressed natural gas, gas and clean-diesel buses to transit operators. But in March of this year, the company changed its name to reflect its increasing interest in commercializing its next-generation electric vehicles, and followed that in June when it revealed it was entering the medium-duty truck market.

With its new VMC 1200 electric truck, Vicinity Motor says the vehicles will “provide maximum versatility to support multiple applications, utilizing high quality, commercially available technology and industry standardized charging solutions to enable rapid adoption.” The trucks are designed for urban delivery applications and daily usage, with a range of over 280 kilometres and a battery capacity of 150 kWh.

“The premiere of the VMC electric truck is an incredible milestone for not only Vicinity but for the industry as it transitions towards true zero-emissions,” said Trainer.

“We expect our production capacity of this new medium-duty line to be over 5,000 units per year in a market that sees over 400,000 trucks sold annually…We are gaining significant momentum with our line of Vicinity Lightning buses, and the introduction of a truck with our unique customer-focused design will provide an exciting supplemental growth opportunity in new end-markets.”

The company says it also plans to add Class 5 trucks into its vehicle lineup in 2022.

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