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Optimal EV and Fontaine Modification Repower Conventional Trucks and Buses with New E1-R Electric Vehicle System

PLYMOUTH, MI, and CHARLOTTE, NC (Dec. 5, 2022) —Optimal EV and Fontaine Modification Work Truck & EV Solutions introduce a repower solution that seamlessly converts conventional gasoline- or diesel-powered trucks and buses to zero-emissions electric power. The new Optimal EV E1-R is built on the commonized Optimal Platform Technology and based on the Ford E-450 cutaway chassis. 


Fontaine will integrate the E1-R into a wide range of commercial vehicle applications including school bus, shuttle bus, delivery vans and specialty vehicles at its network of post-production truck modification centers.


“We are excited to offer our customers another option allowing them to participate in the clean tech revolution that’s underway,” said Jason Hughes, SVP, Business Development at Optimal EV. “In fact, repowering existing vehicles is even a greener solution than first-sale examples, as the carbon emitted in the vehicle’s manufacturing process has already been accounted for. Repower also immediately offsets previously invested sunk costs. Add to that the fact that we are working with a world-class integrator like Fontaine, and it’s really a 360-degree win.”


Combining Optimal EV’s more than 35 years of OEM-level engineering with Fontaine Modification’s nearly four decades of industry-leading engineering, manufacturing and system integration experience has resulted in a repower solution and conversion process that will help accelerate electric fleet conversions. The repowered vehicles will provide many commercial vehicle applications, including school bus, shuttle bus, delivery vehicles and specialty vehicles, with industry-leading zero-emissions performance, safety, and durability.


“The Optimal EV system design is simple and clean which allows for a robust and efficient integration,” said David Brosky, VP, Sales & Business Development at Fontaine Modification. “We’re looking forward to collaborating with the Optimal team to bring this repower solution to market.”


The first range of repower solutions are for the Ford E-450 cutaway chassis, which is widely modified by upfitters throughout North America. With the new E1-R, upfitters looking for new vehicles are getting a product they’ve already designed and planned for, but with an electric powertrain. Plus, customers looking to repurpose existing vehicles have a new zero-emissions option.


From a sustainability perspective, repowering not only takes inefficient ICE vehicles off the road, but it also opens up a range of electric-drive solutions and options for truck upfitters and their customers, resulting in higher rates of EV adoption, less emissions, and better performing vehicles.


Optimal E1-R Highlights

The E1-R powertrain will be available on 2018 to 2023 model year Ford E-450 cutaway chassis. The powertrain boasts industry-leading performance, with 280kW/1700Nm (375hp/1254lb-ft) on tap, OEM E-450 equivalent 30% gradeability, and 125+ miles (201km) of range. The system features Proterra® 113kW batteries and all power electronics and high voltage cables protected inside the vehicle’s frame rails.


Each conversion starts with a detailed vehicle inspection. The repowered vehicles are equipped with a new powertrain and user interface, with refreshed components where required. The resulting repowered vehicle reenters its fleet with the performance and longevity of a brand-new vehicle and the zero-emissions EV capability engineered by Optimal EV.


About Optimal EV

Utilizing nearly 4 decades of North American automotive OEM engineering prowess and 7 years of EV-specific development experience, Optimal EV delivers solutions in the commercial electric vehicle space with industry-leading performance, drivability, durability and safety. With its class-leading designs, Optimal EV brings to market the most advanced vehicles in its category—offering its customers Class 4 EV platforms that significantly outperform all competitors’ products.


With a Detroit-based R&D center and in-house engineering hubs in both Europe and Asia, Optimal brings unmatched automotive grade engineering and supply chain management to the North American specialty vehicle segment. Building its Buy America compliant products at its state-of-the-art Indiana manufacturing facility, Optimal assembles its products with pride in the USA—concentrating on innovation in both design and practice—setting the bar in the commercial EV segment. Learn more at www.optimal-ev.com.


About Fontaine Modification

Established in 1985, Fontaine Modification is North America’s most comprehensive, engineering-focused provider of post-production services for truck manufacturers, dealers, and fleets. Fontaine has 10 modification centers strategically located adjacent to OEM manufacturing plants in Charlotte and Statesville, North Carolina; Chillicothe and Springfield, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Garland and Laredo, Texas; Dublin and Salem, Virginia; and Mineral Wells, West Virginia. The company headquarters and new product development center are in Charlotte.


Fontaine Modification Medium & Heavy Truck Operations offers a full range of design, engineering, and production services for vocational and on-highway trucks. Fontaine Modification Work Truck & EV Solutions provides electrification packaging, integration, and installation solutions, as well as a spectrum of medium-duty vehicle modifications.


Fontaine Modification is a Marmon Holdings / Berkshire Hathaway company. 

For more information about Fontaine Modification, call 800.366.8246 or visit fontainemodification.com.

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Optimal EV and Fontaine Modification Repower Conventional Trucks and Buses with New E1-R Electric Vehicle System

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