Optimal-EV Signs Vicinity as North American Dealer for EV Product Line


Vicinity Motor Corp., a supplier of electric, CNG, gas and clean diesel vehicles, has signed a licensing and marketing agreement with Optimal Electric Vehicles LLC (Optimal-EV), a low-floor electric shuttle bus company, to serve as the exclusive North American distributor of its all-electric product line through Vicinity’s dealer network.

Vicinity Motor will license and sell the Optimal S1 and E1 product lines for a period of 10 years in exchange for an investment of $20 million. Optimal-EV will produce the vehicles and chassis for Vicinity Motor. Vicinity Motor will market and sell the vehicles directly in Canada and through a dealer network in the U.S. Vehicles will be branded VMC Optimal and the two partners will share in revenue and profits.  The deal is intended to combine the strengths of the two companies in engineering, procurement, design, sales and support.

With the agreement, Vicinity Motor will have access to over $30 million in firm orders for deliveries in 2022, an LOI with existing Optimal-EV dealers for potential sales of $194 million in 2023 and a potential sales pipeline of over $600 million.

“This new agreement is a testament to our proven execution, wide sales network and robust footprint throughout North America,” says William Trainer, founder and CEO of Vicinity Motor Corp. “With a clear market segment leadership position in Canada and a growing portfolio of U.S. customers, we are confident we can deliver sales results for Optimal-EV and further enhance our presence in the electric vehicle and medium- and light-duty cutaway categories. In a total addressable market of $26 billion, the agreement will provide access to order book of over $30 million for delivery in 2022.”

“We expect to add to this backlog significantly through our current customer base in Canada and our new partnership with EAVX, a JB Poindexter & Co. subsidiary, announced earlier this week,” continues Trainer. “Optimal-EV has utilized decades of OEM-level engineering prowess and five years of EV-specific development experience to deliver the only low-floor electric shuttle bus in its class. The E1 and S1 products offer industry-leading performance, features, comfort and durability.”

“Vicinity was an ideal fit for this partnership with strong brand-recognition throughout North America and a leading position in the electric bus market with its groundbreaking Vicinity Lightning EV,” adds Song Young, CEO of Optimal-EV. “This synergy – along with their strong commitment to service, long-standing customer loyalty and solid reputation – will lead to a successful partnership and provide a springboard for significant sales of the E1 and S1 through Vicinity’s broad dealer network.”

Having arrived in Q3 2021, the Optimal E1 is a fully electric, low-floor chassis built on the E450 frame, aimed to be an enabler for zero-emission operation of an extensive range of market segments, including commercial trucks and buses, ambulances, recreational vehicles and fleet trucks. The E1’s powertrain system enables more than 125 miles of driving range, 75 mph top speed and 30% gradeability at maximum load. They utilize high-performance battery systems from Proterra, which have energy density, a flexible design to fit within a wide variety of vehicles, and rigorous pack-level validation designed for safe and durable vehicle operation.

The E1’s flexible rear-drive design integrates the vehicle’s fully electric powertrain, including the 113 kWh Proterra-powered high-performance battery pack, in between the chassis rails to allow for seamless aftermarket body integration. The vehicle can fully charge in about two hours with optional DC fast charging and will feature a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 14,500 pounds.

The Optimal S1 low floor cutaway shuttle bus, also built on the E450 chassis, takes full advantage of Optimal-EV’s OEM-quality design and engineering to introduce a product that is both C/FMVSS and ADA compliant. Its low-floor design, which is made possible by the packaging of battery-electric propulsion, allows for ultra-low 11″ step-in height and quick deployment of an ADA-compliant accessibility ramp without the need for the added complexity of kneeling suspension. A variety of seating and storage configurations ensure the Optimal-EV S1 meets all of customers’ fleet needs.

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