Optimal EV, Fontaine Modification Repower Trucks, Buses with EV Systems


Optimal EV and Fontaine Modification Work Truck & EV Solutions have released a repower solution that seamlessly converts conventional gasoline- or diesel-powered trucks and buses to zero-emissions electric power.

The new Optimal EV E1-R is built on the commonized Optimal Platform Technology and based on the Ford E-450 cutaway chassis. Fontaine will integrate the E1-R into a range of commercial vehicle applications, including school bus, shuttle bus, delivery vans and specialty vehicles at its network of post-production truck modification centers.

“We are excited to offer our customers another option allowing them to participate in the clean tech revolution that’s underway,” says Jason Hughes, SVP of business development at Optimal EV. “In fact, repowering existing vehicles is even a greener solution than first-sale examples, as the carbon emitted in the vehicle’s manufacturing process has already been accounted for. Repower also immediately offsets previously invested sunk costs. Add to that the fact that we are working with a world-class integrator like Fontaine, and it’s really a 360-degree win.”

Combining Optimal EV’s more than 35 years of OEM-level engineering with Fontaine Modification’s nearly four decades of industry-leading engineering, manufacturing and system integration experience has resulted in a repower solution and conversion process that will help accelerate electric fleet conversions. The repowered vehicles will provide many commercial vehicle applications, including school bus, shuttle bus, delivery vehicles and specialty vehicles, with zero-emissions performance, safety and durability.

“The Optimal EV system design is simple and clean which allows for a robust and efficient integration,” states David Brosky, VP, sales and business development at Fontaine Modification. “We’re looking forward to collaborating with the Optimal team to bring this repower solution to market.”

The first range of repower solutions are for the Ford E-450 cutaway chassis, which is widely modified by upfitters throughout North America. With the new E1-R, upfitters looking for new vehicles are getting a product they’ve already designed and planned for, but with an electric powertrain. Plus, customers looking to repurpose existing vehicles have a new zero-emissions option.

From a sustainability perspective, repowering not only takes inefficient ICE vehicles off the road, but it also opens up a range of electric-drive solutions and options for truck upfitters and their customers, resulting in higher rates of EV adoption, less emissions and better performing vehicles.

The E1-R powertrain will be available on 2018 to 2023 model year Ford E-450 cutaway chassis. The powertrain boasts industry-leading performance, with 280 kW/1700 Nm (375 hp/1254 lb-ft) on tap, OEM E-450 equivalent 30% gradeability, and 125+ miles (201km) of range. The system features Proterra 113kW batteries and all power electronics and high voltage cables protected inside the vehicle’s frame rails.

Each conversion starts with a detailed vehicle inspection. The repowered vehicles are equipped with a new powertrain and user interface, with refreshed components where required. The resulting repowered vehicle reenters its fleet with the performance and longevity of a brand-new vehicle and the zero-emissions EV capability engineered by Optimal EV.

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