National Fleet Hybrids
National Fleet Hybrids is a wholly owned subsidiary of National Van Builders, Inc., a premium manufacturer of commercial accessible vans, multi-passenger shuttle vans, executive transporters and specialty vehicles. National Van is a manufacturer’s representative for the Elkhart Coach and Glaval lines of cutaway buses. National Van has been in business since 1992, is a Ford Motor Pool account and Ford QVM certified and holds an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Recognizing our customers’ need for greater fuel economy and lower maintenance costs, National Van began searching for partners offering hybrid technology for commercial vehicles. After being introduced to the Lightning Hybrids system, an alliance was formed and National Fleet Hybrids was born. National Fleet Hybrids is solely dedicated to providing the cutting edge of hybrid technology offering significant savings in fuel economy and brake wear.
About Lightning Hybrids
Lightning Hybrids is an innovative automotive research and manufacturing company based in Loveland, Colorado. They are focused on providing hydraulic solutions – including fuel efficient hydraulic hybrid systems for vehicles (especially fleet work trucks and shuttle buses) and lightweight composite high pressure accumulators.
In October of 2008, founders Dan Johnson and Tim Reeser, motivated by a challenge from Dan’s father, Sam Johnson, assembled a team and started work on a 100 MPG hydraulic hybrid sports sedan. They entered the $10 million Automotive X PRIZE race for “super fuel-efficient vehicles that people will want to buy” slated for mid-2010. (Click the X PRIZE above to see the outcome of that competition.)
In April 2009 they introduced the LH4 car at the Denver Auto Show. At that show they were asked many times, “When are you going to make a hydraulic hybrid kit or retrofit for trucks?”
When Lightning Hybrids returned from the show they found themselves at a crossroads. The X PRIZE was becoming prohibitively expensive. They knew that if we could get the car to market they could certainly sell a 100 MPG sports sedan, however the cost of getting to market would be well over $12 million because of all the regulations and testing that would have to occur.
As they explored ways to push forward in our work on hydraulic hybrids, they began developing the hybrid drivetrain as a kit or retrofit for trucks. In summer 2009 they dropped out of the X PRIZE race and to fully focus the team on the development of their patent-pending Hydraulic Hybrid retrofit system for light and medium-duty fleet vehicles.
In the process of developing the Hydraulic Hybrid technology and in an effort to make the system lighter and safer they designed a carbon fiber accumulator that is a fraction of the weight of its steel counterpart. The Carbon Weight accumulator is in use in their own system and can be used in a number of other applications.
Currently Lightning Hybrids is focused completely on the design and testing of their Hydraulic Hybrid system for fleet vehicles such as shuttle buses and work trucks. Road testing of the first hydraulic hybrid work truck model, a GMC 3500 cutaway, has been on-going since November of 2011. And the truck made its public debut at the Work Truck Show in March of 2012.
In September 2012, Lightning Hybrids introduced the world’s first hydraulic hybrid shuttle bus at BusCon, the largest bus show in the world, where the system was voted “Most Innovative New Technology”.