Porterville electric bus maker rolls out longest-range model

(Rigo Moran)

GreenPower Motor Company begins filling orders for its Mega BEAST bus with a battery range of up to 300 miles, triple the industry average

PORTERVILLE – A Porterville-based electric vehicle maker has launched the longest-range electric school bus on the market, offering new solutions for remote districts, high school sports travel and field trips.

On Oct. 31, GreenPower Motor Company announced the launch of its Mega BEAST model, an electric school bus with the biggest battery pack and most extended range yet on the US market.

Just two weeks after launching the high milage bus, GreenPower said it had received orders from its exclusive California dealer Model 1 for 25 of the Mega BEAST school buses for the Montebello School District in Los Angeles County, and 10 BEAST school buses for the Garden Grove school district in northern Orange County. The company also has orders from a Nevada school district for buses. The BEAST has a range of 120 miles while the Mega BEAST’s range is up to 300 miles, more than triple the industry average.

The Mega BEAST delivers a class-leading range on a single charge via a 387 kWh battery pack. It is designed to provide the answer for longer range routes and other desired uses by a school district. The extended range created by the larger battery pack is an ideal solution for many rural school districts with longer routes, school districts with less chance for mid-day opportunity charging, school districts that face extreme weather conditions and schools that also use the all-electric bus for extra-curricular activities. The larger battery of the Mega BEAST also has the ability to provide for a more healthy and stable electric grid and community stability in areas where it is deployed and V2G is used.

“With these buses qualifying for California HVIP vouchers, air quality management district grants, VW funding, and the EPA Clean School Bus Program, school districts are able to fund the transition to a cleaner, safer ride,” Model 1 school bus sales manager Jason Hohalek said.

Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) recently signed legislation that requires all new school buses in California to be electric by 2035. With that action, California joined Connecticut, Maine, Maryland and New York in mandating the switch to all-electric, zero-emission school buses in fleets over the next four to 17 years. The new law makes California the leader in state funding for the transition to all-electric school buses with the switch projected to cost roughly $5 billion.

California’s Hybrid And Zero-Emission Truck And Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) offers up to $198,000 in incentives per school bus. The Volkswagen (VW) VW Mitigation Trust, the fines levied against the automaker for falsifying its emissions data, offers up to $400,000 per bus. The EPA’s Clean School Bus Program to electrify fleets offers up to $345,000 per school district.

GreenPower spokesperson Allie Potter said the buses will be assembled at the company’s manufacturing facility in Porterville. Production in Porterville in recent years has mostly been the company’s line of electric shuttle vans. Besides Porterville, the Canadian firm has assembly plants in West Virginia and South Carolina.

Financial results report loss

The launch is welcome news for the e-bus maker, which reported a $7,069,499 loss in the first half of 2023-24 fiscal year. That came on the heels of a $7.8 million loss for the same period last year.

The losses don’t mean the company is struggling as its revenues continue to grow and close the gap on its upfront expenses for innovation. On Nov. 13, GreenPower reported record revenues of $26.0 million for the first half of the 2024 fiscal year, an increase of 125% over the revenue of $11.6 million for the first half of the previous fiscal year.

For the six-month period that ended Sept. 30 of this year, the Company recorded revenues of $26,021,018 and cost of sales of $22,000,873, generating a gross profit of $4,020,145 or 15.4% of revenues. Revenue was generated from the sale of 99 EV Star Cab and Chassis (“CC”), 19 BEAST Type D all-electric school buses, 5 Nano BEAST Type A all-electric school buses, 14 EV Star 22 foot cargo, 2 EV Star Cargo, 22 EV Stars, 1 EV Star specialty vehicle, and recognized revenue from the sale of parts, from finance and operating leases and from the operations of Lion Truck Body.

All-Electric School Buses

The increase in costs and sales was driven by the company’s investment in electric school buses leading up to the launch of its industry-leading, long-range bus.

“Much of the second quarter was focused on GreenPower’s school bus operations as demand for the product continues to increase. We delivered a record number of school buses, grew our order book and expanded our geographic reach for our all-electric, purpose-built school buses,” GreenPower Chairman and CEO Fraser Atkinson said. “We delivered 13 BEAST Type D school buses and three Nano BEAST Type A school buses for a total of 16 all-electric, purpose-built school buses in the quarter.”

School bus manufacturing continues to be a focal point in the company’s year-to-date finances.

“West Virginia manufacturing of GreenPower’s all- electric school buses began in earnest during the first half of the fiscal year as a result of the order from the state of West Virginia and school districts in the east. The Nano BEAST is in production mode at the plant and provisions have been made for the BEAST production processes, which will begin in the third quarter,” GreenPower President Brendan Riley said. “We have expanded our manufacturing workforce at the South Charleston facility and those new employees are going through our training and education program at BridgeValley Community & Technical College.”

The company’s NASDAQ stock was selling for just under $3 a share as of press time, after reaching a high of over $30 a share in 2021.

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