|Lightning Hybrids is an innovative automotive research and manufacturing company based in Loveland, Colorado. We focus 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 we introduced the LH4 car at the Denver Auto Show. At that show we were asked many times, “When are you going to make a hydraulic hybrid kit or retrofit for trucks?”
When we returned from the show we found ourselves at a crossroads. The X PRIZE was becoming prohibitively expensive. We knew that if we could get the car to market we 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 we explored ways to push forward in our work on hydraulic hybrids, we began developing the hybrid drivetrain as a kit or retrofit for trucks. In summer 2009 we dropped out of the X PRIZE race and to fully focus our team on the development of our patent-pending Hydraulic Hybrid retrofit system for light and medium-duty fleet vehicles.
Currently Lightning Hybrids is focused completely on the design and testing of our 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“.
The City of Loveland placed a Ford E-450 bus outfitted with our hydraulic hybrid technology in their fleet in February 2013. This bus runs on COLT routes 100 or 101 on a daily basis and has large on-board monitors that show how the system is working an how much fuel it is saving in real-time. Take a ride when you’re in town!
In October 2010, we moved into our own facility in downtown Loveland. The building, a former Chrysler dealer, was designed and rebuilt by Dan Johnson along with the architectural firm, Faye Crowe Architect.
This new manufacturing space has been outfitted with a cost effective, energy efficient lighting system that is capable of providing diffused daylight in large open spaces. This sustainable system is created by another innovative Colorado-based company, Sundolier, and provides superior light to the space via two “harvesters” mounted on the roof of the building (see picture below.)
About Lightning Hybrids