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Parc Safari launches fleet of electric bush trucks

Parc Safari, along with the Lion Electric Company, a Saint-Jerome-based manufacturer of all-electric medium and heavy-duty vehicles, officially unveiled on June 6 seven electric bush trucks specifically designed for the Hemmingford park and its Safari Adventure Tour.

The zero-emission vehicles were custom-made to meet Parc Safari’s needs and were delivered in 2021. Mounted on a Lion8 chassis, each electric bush truck was fitted with a covered, open-sided seating area with space for up to 50 people, created by the Dunham-based welding company Soudure Brault. Finally, benches designed by Re-Plast Products Inc. in Notre-Dame-du-Bon-Conseil, which specializes in furniture made from 100 per cent post-consumer and post-industrial recycled plastic, were installed to make the trucks as eco-friendly and efficient as possible.

In an interview prior to the unveiling of the fleet, Parc Safari’s president and owner, Jean-Pierre Ranger, recalled reading a four-inch story in a business magazine years ago about the Lion Electric Company sending zero-emission electric buses to California. He called them up right away and over time spoke with engineers at the company to develop a project. According to Ranger, each truck cost around $400,000, while the total investment, including all the necessary infrastructure, amounted to $4.5 million.

 

Parc Safari launched its fleet of seven 100-per cent electric bush trucks during a press conference on June 6 in Hemmingford. PHOTO Parc Safari

 

“Since 2010, I’ve been dreaming of bringing the Safari Adventure Tour to life in all-electric bush trucks, and I’m thrilled that Lion Electric has accepted this challenge, which allows us to bring a better – and greener – experience to visitors than ever before,” said Ranger in a press release issued following the launch of the trucks.

The new bush trucks replace the large M35 military trucks that had thrilled pre-pandemic visitors with up-close encounters with the animals in the Safari Adventure Tour. “They could go everywhere,” said general manager Véronique Ranger of the vehicles. “We have always strived to have a more conscious or green footprint while still giving that incredible experience to visitors,” she explained during an interview, noting the bush trucks are quieter and much more earth-friendly.

Quebec-based innovation

“We’re thrilled to have been able to make this dream a reality for Mr. Ranger and his team, and thank them for their vision,” declared Marc Bédard, the CEO and founder of Lion Electric. A leading original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in transportation electrification, Bédard highlighted the versatility and adaptability of Lion vehicles, which his team has been developing in Quebec for over a decade.

“It is the animals, but also the planet, that are going to thank us,” pointed out Pierre Fitzgibbon, the minister of economy and innovation and minister responsible for regional economic development, who attended the launch with colleague Benoit Charette, the minister of the environment and the fight against climate change.

“The electrification of transportation is undoubtedly one of the best ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Quebec,” explained Charette. “The partnership between Lion and Parc Safari is a great example of how any type of vehicle can be electrified for the benefit of the environment.”

Huntingdon MNA Claire IsaBelle was also quick to praise Parc Safari for continuing in its leadership role with the electrification of its vehicles. “Many visitors will now have the privilege of taking advantage of this new, all-Quebec-made mode of transportation to explore the park,” she said.

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