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CN orders 50 electric trucks from Lion Electric

Railway taps Canadian supplier to expand zero-emissions intermodal trucking

CN intends to use Lion Electric's battery-powered trucks for intermodal operations in major urban centers. (Photo: Lion Electric Co.)

CN (NYSE: CNI) has ordered 50 electric trucks from Canadian supplier Lion Electric Co. for intermodal operations in its largest urban markets, the companies announced Monday.

The Canadian railway plans to deploy the trucks in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, CN JJ Ruest said during a news conference in Montreal. They will perform urban deliveries, container shuttle service and port operations. 

The trucks will help “reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also noise pollution,” Ruest said. “Trucks, let’s face it, are a little noisy.” 

It also marks the single largest order for Quebec-based Lion Electric. CN has been testing eight of Lion Electric’s trucks since launching a pilot project in 2019

Lion’s electric truck designed with Canadian winters and urban deliveries in mind

A Lion8 electric truck seen attached to a CN intermodal trailer.
Lion Electric launched the Lion8 battery-powered truck in 2019. (Photo: Lion Electric Co.)

Lion Electric launched the Lion8 Class-8 electric truck in 2019. The battery-powered Lion8 was designed for urban deliveries, with a range of up to 250 miles on a single charge. It has gross-vehicle weight rating of 54,600 pounds. 

“It’s cool. It’s a smart truck. It’s quiet. It’s smooth,” Lion Electric President Marc Bédard told FreightWaves in 2019.

The Lion8 also is designed to endure the harsh Canadian winters. Sub-zero temperatures typically result in a decrease in range of 10%

The trucks cost around CA$300,000 to $400,000 (US$230,000 to $307,000) apiece depending on the configuration. 

Neither company disclosed the cost of the order. CN announced hundreds of millions of dollars of investments over the summer, some of which will strengthen its intermodal trucking operations.

CN’s intermodal fleet has more than 1,000 owner-operators.

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Nate Tabak

Nate Tabak is a Toronto-based journalist and producer who covers cybersecurity and cross-border trucking and logistics for FreightWaves. He spent seven years reporting stories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe as a reporter, producer and editor based in Kosovo. He previously worked at newspapers in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the San Jose Mercury News. He graduated from UC Berkeley, where he studied the history of American policing. Contact Nate at [email protected]