Lightning Soars on Deal With Buffett-Backed Bus Maker

Lightning eMotors
Assembled electric powertrains are ready for installation into Lightning Electric Transit 350HD vehicles. (Business Wire)

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Lightning eMotors Inc. shares surged after the company that electrifies commercial vehicles announced a strategic partnership with a Berkshire Hathaway Inc.-backed bus maker.

Lightning, whose stock started trading in May after a merger with a blank-check company, will build fully electric powertrains and provide charging products and services to Berkshire’s Forest River Inc., according to a statement Aug. 10. The companies said they will deploy as many as 7,500 shuttle buses.

Lightning shares soared as much as 55% to $9.92 before the start of regular trading. The stock had slumped 26% since the close on May 7, its first day of trading.


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Forest River will use powertrains from Lightning in Classes 4-5 shuttle buses it plans to manufacture at a plant in Goshen, Ind. The companies estimated the potential value of their agreement at $850 million.

The deal with a business linked to billionaire Warren Buffett’s firm is a big win for Lightning after a series of setbacks for electric vehicle-related startups that have merged with special-purpose acquisition companies. The manufacturer formerly known as Lightning Hybrids buys commercial vehicle chassis from companies including Ford Motor Co. and assembles electric versions at its 250,000-square-foot facility in Loveland, Colo.

Forest River, which sells shuttle buses under the Starcraft, Glaval and Champion brands, plans to market the battery-powered vehicles through its network of more than 100 dealerships in the U.S. and Canada.

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