Tag Archives: Forest River

Forest River and Lightning eMotors Expand Strategic Partnership

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s Forest River is expanding its strategic partnership with Lightning eMotors, a leading provider of medium-duty and specialty commercial electric vehicles for fleets. The partnership will offer a factory-certified all-electric repower program for shuttle buses and passenger vans.

Repowering gas and diesel-powered commercial vehicles has been common practice for many years since the chassis and body often outlast the powertrains, while repowering vehicles with electric powertrains remains a largely untapped opportunity for many fleet operators.

Forest River is the dominant manufacturer of shuttle buses across US and Canada. There are currently more than 50,000 Forest River shuttle buses and passenger vans across the U.S. and Canada that are eligible for this program. Many of those buses have been highly customized with wheel-chair lifts, roof-top air conditioners and other equipment. Repowering these vehicles not only reduces emissions, it also preserves the prior investment and extends the life of the vehicle all while reducing costs for the customer.

“There have been attempts by smaller and early-stage EV technology companies to repower gasoline and diesel buses to electric, but fleets have been hesitant to invest in these third-party, unauthorized and unproven solutions,” Lightning eMotors CEO Tim Reeser said. “With the Forest River and Lightning eMotors’ factory-certified repower program fleets can be assured they will get a proven and reliable solution backed by two established companies that will stand behind the offering and support the vehicles through their second life.”

The Forest River factory-certified powertrains and installation will be backed by a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty. Additionally, Lightning Energy will provide Forest River dealers and customers with customized charging and microgrid energy solutions, including Lightning’s Mobile Battery Vehicle Charging solutions to ensure customers have the necessary infrastructure to support fast ramp-up of their zero-emission fleets.

This expanded agreement comes after Lightning and Forest River announced in 2021 an $850 million, multi-year strategic partnership to build up to 7,500 zero-emission Class 4 and Class 5 buses.

“We expect that our new repower program with Lightning will be welcomed by our dealers because it is being introduced as the commercial bus industry continues to grapple with a production shortage caused by supply chain issues in the broader automotive market,” said Forest River Bus president David Wright. “Lightning’s zero-emission powertrain provides our customers with an updated powertrain that is not only more sustainable and more efficient than the gasoline engine that is being replaced, but also provides the latest safety and driver technology on a platform that is serviceable and highly customized for their needs.”

© 2022 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Forest River Expanding in Noble County and Adding Hundreds of Jobs

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s Forest River is expanding in Noble County, Indiana with the purchase of three buildings to house its IBEX Travel Trailer production, parts and service center. The facility will encompass 160,000 square feet in the Ligonier Industrial Park.

Forest River will also hire 500 employees over the next three years to work at the facility.

In addition, Forest River plans to spend $4.4 million for 65 acres in the industrial park to build three 95,000-square-foot buildings.

“I could not be prouder to welcome Forest River’s expansions in Ligonier,” said Ligonier Mayor Patty Fisel. “We know our workforce is a great fit for them and that they are a great employer. It is never easy to see jobs lost, as we did when Vibracoustic pulled out last year. This is a great transition and opportunity for us to keep our people working and the community growing.”

The city of Ligonier will consider a 10-year tax abatement on real property and personal property investments, as part of the incentives offered to Forest River. Other incentives that have already been announced, include the Ligonier Industrial Development Corp.’s agreement to invest in site preparation, and the Noble County Economic Development Corp. may invest in an additional access point to the facility.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Forest River to Triple Its Canadian Sales of Electric Buses

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s Forest River is experiencing strong demand in Canada for its new ZEV shuttle buses thanks to its recent strategic partnership with Lightning eMotors.

The company is projecting that it will triple its sales in the Canadian market.

Forest River is already selling 10,000 units per year in the Class 4 to 6 shuttle-bus space under its Starcraft, Glaval, and Champion brands. The co-produced Forest River/Lightning eMotors ZEV bus partnership aims to build up to 7,500 zero-emission shuttle buses over the next 4.5 years.

Lightning eMotors is manufacturing the zero-emission-vehicle (“ZEV”) powertrain systems at their 231,000 square foot facility in Loveland, Colorado and shipping the powertrains to Forest River’s factory in Goshen, Indiana, for final assembly of the Class 4 and 5 all-electric passenger buses. Forest River is dedicating 100,000 square feet to install Lightning eMotors’ powertrains.

The vehicles that Forest River and Lightning eMotors will co-produce are Class 4 and 5 shuttle buses with gross vehicle weight ratings ranging from 14,500 to 19,500 pounds. The buses will feature battery configurations from 80kWh to more than 160kWh using industry-leading battery thermal management systems. These vehicles support ranges on a single charge between 80 and 160 miles and can recharge over a lunch break using Lightning eMotors’ DC fast charge infrastructure with integrated vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities.

Available configurations will have between 12 and 33 passenger seats with ADA options available, and bus lengths of 20 to 34 feet. Other features include a modern digital-dash display, hill-hold functionality for safety, advanced telematics, analytics, and a mobile app for drivers and fleet managers.

Forest River’s 100-plus bus dealership locations throughout the U.S. and Canada will have the opportunity to sell and service these vehicles.

All vehicles will be compliant with the Federal Transit Administration’s “Buy America” and the Federal Aviation Administration’s “Buy American” guidelines. Under the guidelines, the federal share of eligible capital costs is 80 percent of the net capital project cost.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Lightning eMotors and Berkshire Hathaway’s Forest River Ink Multiyear Agreement for up to $850M in Zero-Emission Bus Technology

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Lightning eMotors, a leading provider of specialty commercial electric vehicles for fleets, and Berkshire Hathaway’s Forest River, Inc. have entered into a strategic partnership agreement to deploy up to 7,500 zero-emission shuttle buses.

The agreement, with a potential estimated value of up to $850 million, calls for Lightning eMotors to build fully electric powertrains and provide charging products, and services for Forest River over the next four and a half years. Lightning eMotors will manufacture the zero-emission-vehicle (“ZEV”) powertrain systems at their 231,000 square foot facility in Loveland, Colorado and ship the powertrains to Forest River’s factory in Goshen, Indiana, for final assembly of the Class 4 and 5 all-electric passenger buses.

Forest River is the leading shuttle bus market producer in North America, with eight manufacturing buildings and more than 500,000 square feet of production space. The Elkhart, Indiana-based company has plans to dedicate 100,000 square feet to install Lightning eMotors’ powertrains.

“This has the potential to be the largest contract ever in the electric shuttle bus market, and we believe it will be the catalyst for other large commercial vehicle OEMs and fleets to accelerate their adoption of commercial electric vehicles,” said Tim Reeser, CEO of Lightning eMotors. “Forest River’s family of shuttle bus companies, including top name brands like Starcraft, Glaval, and Champion, maintain a dominant market position selling over 10,000 units per year in the Class 4 to 6 shuttle-bus space. Forest River’s sales volumes allow us to provide a price point to their dealers and customers that results in a very compelling ROI. We believe this commitment from the largest shuttle bus manufacturer in the U.S. demonstrates that they believe that commercial vehicle customers are now demanding Lightning eMotors’ zero-emission vehicles over ICE vehicles.”

The vehicles that Forest River and Lightning eMotors will co-produce are Class 4 and 5 shuttle buses with gross vehicle weight ratings ranging from 14,500 to 19,500 pounds. The buses will feature battery configurations from 80kWh to more than 160kWh using industry-leading battery thermal management systems. These vehicles support ranges on a single charge between 80 and 160 miles and can recharge over a lunch break using Lightning eMotors’ DC fast charge infrastructure with integrated vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capabilities. Available configurations will have between 12 and 33 passenger seats with ADA options available, and bus lengths of 20 to 34 feet. Other features include a modern digital-dash display, hill-hold functionality for safety, advanced telematics, analytics, and a mobile app for drivers and fleet managers. All vehicles will be compliant with the Federal Transit Administration’s “Buy America” and the Federal Aviation Administration’s “Buy American” guidelines.

“We decided to work with Lightning eMotors after several years of extensive research because of their market and technology leadership in the commercial EV segment,” said David Wright, president of Forest River’s bus divisions. “I was especially impressed after visiting their manufacturing facility in Colorado, driving their vehicles, and talking to their customers. It is clear why Lightning eMotors is at the forefront of fleet electrification. We’ll be providing our customers with a factory-installed electric powertrain that has proven technology relied upon by major fleets, at a price point no one else has been able to achieve. We believe this will be a game changer for shuttle-bus operators.”

Kash Sethi, chief revenue officer of Lightning eMotors, said that the partnership between the companies is important for several reasons. “Transit agencies and other shuttle operators, including airports, parking lots, hotels, and corporate and university campuses, have had an increasing selection of options for large full-size electric buses,” Sethi said. “However, supply for medium-duty electric buses has been limited to smaller EV companies working with regional dealerships to retrofit buses. This model has proven to be neither cost-efficient nor scalable. Now, Forest River is demonstrating it will continue being the leader in the commercial bus market by offering sustainable zero-emission buses as part of their core product portfolio. We believe that will greatly improve the availability of premium-quality, cost-effective electric buses. We look forward to working with Forest River, and their dealer network, in leading the industry through this transformation.”

Forest River’s 100-plus bus dealership locations throughout the U.S. and Canada will have the opportunity to sell and service these vehicles. Manufacturing of Forest River Lightning EV shuttles has already begun, and Forest River expects to deliver several dozens of the new electric shuttle buses to its dealerships by the end of this year.

Lightning eMotors’ charging division, Lightning Energy, will offer a comprehensive suite of charging and charging infrastructure related products and services to Forest River dealers and shuttle-bus operators

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Cause of Fire That Destroyed Forest River RV Plant Identified

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

The cause of a fire that destroyed a Forest River RV plant in in Goshen, Indiana, on March 15, has been blamed on a space heater.

The fire was fed by flammable chemicals and adhesives on site.

There were no reported injuries.

Founded in 1996, Forest River has multiple manufacturing facilities throughout the United States producing Class A, B and C motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheels, toy haulers, pop-up tent campers, truck campers, park model trailers, destination trailers, cargo trailers, commercial vehicles, buses, pontoons, and mobile restroom trailers.

The company was acquired by Berkshire Hathaway in 2005.

© 2021 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Forest River Goes Electric With GreenPower’s Electric Cab and Chassis

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s recreational vehicle manufacturer, Forest River, Inc., has signed a deal with GreenPower Motor Company Inc. in order to launch a new line of Forest River zero-emission product offerings.

GreenPower entered into an exclusive purchase agreement, related to Cutaway minibuses and Type B and C Recreational Vehicles, with Forest River to deliver up to 150 GreenPower EV Star Cab and Chassis.

It is anticipated that the initial deliveries of GreenPower’s EV Star CC units to Forest River will be directed at the cutaway shuttle bus, commercial truck and recreational vehicle markets.

Greenpower expects to deliver the first six units of the purpose-built all-electric EV Star CC this quarter, with the remainder expected to be delivered over the next 36 months at a run rate that will be determined by the third quarter of 2021.

Brendan Riley, President of GreenPower, commented, “Forest River is a forward-thinking company that is looking to solidify their market position long into the future by adding a purpose-built, zero-emission offering to many of their product lines.” Riley added, “The EV Star Cab and Chassis meets the demands of many of their addressable markets and allows Forest River to focus on what they are experts at: building bodies.”

David Wright, President of Forest River’s bus divisions added, “Forest River has been looking for a purpose-built all-electric chassis that has the range and the carrying capacity that our customers and dealers demand. Zero-emission vehicles are where the markets are going, and the GreenPower EV Star CC gives us the flexibility to address a variety of unmet needs in the commercial market.”

Wholly-owned by Berkshire Hathaway, Forest River has over 10,000 employees and annual revenues in excess of $5 Billion.

© 2021 David Mazor


Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Forest River Acquires REV’s Shuttle Bus Brands

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s Forest River Inc. has acquired REV Group’s shuttle bus brands: Champion Bus, Federal Coach, World Trans, Krystal Coach, ElDorado and Goshen Coach, adding to the company’s current shuttle bus divisions.

The brands are currently produced at plants in Salina and Imlay City, Michigan.

The bus product line provides transportation for colleges, churches, assisted living facilities, retirement communities, transportation companies and government agencies.

In a press release, David Wright, president of the bus division at Forest River said “We are excited to welcome Champion Bus and ElDorado to Forest River. Both organizations have built a history of integrity, quality and innovation and enjoy an excellent reputation in our industry today. As we navigate these challenging times, the addition of these historic and iconic brands to the Forest River family enhance our ability to provide products and a customer experience that is second to none. We look forward to working with our dealer partners as we better position Forest River’s shuttle bus divisions for the future.”

© 2020 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Devastating Fire Makes Forest River RV Plant a Total Loss

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

A devastating fire has made a Forest River RV plant in Elkhart, Indiana a total loss.

The plant, Forest River’s plant #59, went up in flames on March 12.

More than 40 firefighters in 15 crews battled to contain the blaze, which produced billowing smoke that could be seen for miles and showed up on area weather radar.

There were no fatalities, as the building was quickly evacuated.

Fire investigators have yet to determine the cause of the fire, as the investigation has been hampered by safety issues at the site.

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Forest River Leads RV Pack in Recreational Vehicle Global Growth

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Berkshire Hathaway’s recreational vehicle maker Forest River is riding a wave of strong global growth for the RV market.

The global recreational vehicles market, which was worth $54.63 billion in 2017 is projected to grow at a CAGR of about 4.11% from 2017 to 2025 to $75.38 Billion by 2025.

According to the report, “Recreational Vehicles (RVs) Market Size and Forecast By Product (Towable and Motorhomes), By Application (Commercial and Residential) And Trend Analysis, 2015 – 2025”, in 2016, 40 million Americans participated in camping activities, which is a primary booster for the growth of global recreational vehicle industry.

Berkshire’s Forest River Inc., is the largest player with a more than 25% share, followed by Thor Industries Inc., Winnebago Industries Inc., and REV Recreation Group.

According to the report, the U.S. market has roughly 10 million of the consumers aged between 35 years to 75 years that own recreational vehicles.

The China market is seeing increasing development of tourism and campgrounds coupled with consumers’ changing travel preferences is spurring the traction of recreational vehicles market. However, according to the report the domestic recreational vehicle market in China is still in the nascent stage, wherein consumers purchased about 25,000 vehicles in 2016. The purchase number is expected is to reach 500,000 by 2020 supported by growing economy and rising middle class.

© 2019 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Forest River’s Booming Business Means 325 New Jobs in Elkhart, Indiana

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

Forest River, Berkshire Hathaway’s RV manufacturer, is riding high these days. With business booming, it’s proposing spending roughly $6 million on real estate and create 325 new full-time jobs with annual salaries totaling approximately $16.9 million in Elkhart, Indiana.

The Elkhart County Council has approved a resolution for a 5-year tax phase-in agreement that would include Forest River’s guarantee of the 325 new full-time jobs.

Forest River has already begun construction on two buildings and is in the planning stage for two more.

Surprising analysts, millennials have embraced the RV lifestyle, which has helped spur robust annual growth averaging 15 percent the last few years.

Then again, perhaps it shouldn’t be such a surprise. With millennials touted as focused on experiences, the RV is the perfect vehicle to bring you to those experiences in comfort.

© 2018 David Mazor


Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.