Get on the Bus with Letenda

Unlock the future of eco-friendly public transportation with Nicolas Letendre, founder of Letenda Incorporated, as FuzeHub’s Steve Melito gets us an exclusive peek behind the innovative curtain of Electrip electric buses. Designed to tackle the toughest of Canadian winters, these buses are more than just vehicles—they’re a testament to customer-focused engineering and Letenda’s commitment to zero-emission technology. Our chat with Nicolas not only reveals the secrets of the Electrip’s resilience but also sheds light on Letenda’s expansion into the US market, starting with a bang in Vermont, and their strategic maneuvers to align with “Buy America” policies.


Steve Melito: Hey everybody, welcome to New York State Manufacturing Now, the podcast that’s powered by FuzeHub. I’m your host, Steve Milito. Today we’re talking to Nicolas Letendre, the president and founder of Letenda Incorporated, a Quebec-based manufacturer of zero emissions buses. Letenda’s flagship product, the Electrip, is an electric city bus that’s built for the harsh winter conditions of Canada. If you’re wondering why New York State Manufacturing Now is looking abroad, it’s because Letenda will be part of a supply chain panel that I’ll be moderating at the Quebec New York Transportation Rendezvous and B&B. This international event is scheduled for Tuesday, march 19, 2024, in Plattsburgh, New York. NAmTrans, a subsidiary of the North Country Chamber of Commerce, is hosting the Rendezvous in partnership with Aero Montreal, propulsion Quebec, the Quebec government and FuzeHub. If you want to make transportation industry connections, the Rendezvous is for you. Nicolas Letendre, welcome to New York State Manufacturing Now.

Nicolas Letendre: Thank you very much, Steve.

Steve Melito: Hello everybody, so let’s start with the basics. How does an electric bus work? Is it similar to a Tesla or other type of EV with which listeners may be familiar?

Nicolas Letendre: Steve, we are using a battery where there is energy inside which is providing the power to a motor, which provides the power toward the bus to go forward. You know it’s similar like a gas or a vehicle. The battery is like the tank. So every night you need to fill that battery, like a transit operator, like in the organization they need to charge the bus at night to be able to work during the day using the vehicle. Nicolas, Excellent.

Steve Melito: So there are many electric bus manufacturers. What makes Latenda different?

Nicolas Letendre: Steve, yes, a big differentiator from Latenda might seem like a special answer, but it’s our proximity to the customer, because to be able to provide a product which answers to the customer needs, it makes us different.

If you look at the buses that the people are using Canada, USA, you know those I would say buses are the same vehicle that we are seeing since more than 20 years on their streets. So what we have done different at Latenda is to evaluate with the customer what are their pain, what are their needs, what do they see that gave them a value added for their operation. So we put that together, that all that information, and we build from the ground up a new generation of transit bus, ensuring some key elements, you know, in terms of range, in terms of passenger accessibility, driving safety, easy for maintenance. So those are key elements. And, of course, you know, as we are Canadian, like you said, we live in the Northern like country, so it’s cold in winter but also kind of warm during summer. So it needs to be well insulated and to make sure that our vehicle is efficient in any climate condition. And I like to say it’s like if it works in the province of Quebec, it will work everywhere in the world.

Steve Melito: Very good. Yes, that is a concern many EV owners have is their cars even don’t work especially well in the cold weather. So it sounds like you’re on to something. What are some commercial successes that you’ve had so far? I believe you’ve sold some of your vehicles to US Transportation Authority.

Nicolas Letendre: So we have a launch customer in Vermont. So this is what’s one of our successes. You know, having a US-based launch customer, it’s something that we were like targeting. You know our key market, the first market, it’s North America, like USA and Canada, knowing that USA is the biggest part of the market, and for us it was strategic to start like this. And, of course, you know what is interesting in our turn, part of the USA, like Vermont and New York and New England, you know we share similar climate. It’s interesting also for them for that kind of vehicle.

Steve Melito: Very good. How do companies become part of your supply chain and do you work with any New York state companies already?

Nicolas Letendre: We are in discussion with some New York state partners, suppliers. There’s nothing that I can disclose at the moment but we have some potential partners who are in quite advanced discussions In the year 2024, we will disclose some but at the moment I cannot mention. But I can add maybe, Steve, you know something important for us to sell buses in USA we need to meet by America requirement which require, you know, final assembly to be done in the USA and also 70% of the parts needs to be from USA. So it’s very important to have a US supplier base.

Steve Melito: Absolutely, and we’ve talked about some of the successes that you’ve had in your supply chain efforts. What are some challenges that you’ve had to overcome or you still need to overcome?

Nicolas Letendre: So we are a relatively new company. So you know, our bus is certified in Canada. We just announced it’s certified also in USA. So we are going to start production, you know, beginning of 2025. We’re going to align all of this. This year we’re doing the industrialization planning, so the big challenge will be the production ramp up. So to make sure that we start the production, we deliver some vehicle, we want our customer to be happy and also we need to accelerate the production to deliver like a four hour growth.

Steve Melito: Very good. And one last question, if I may. So next month, you and I will both be in Plattsburgh, New York, on March 19th at the Quebec New York Transportation Rendezvous. What are your goals for attending this event?

Nicolas Letendre: You know we want to meet with potential like new supplier base that we don’t know in New York and they are like we know plenty because they’re already like transportation manufacturer, like vehicles in the New York, so like in the train sector or the, you know, bus sector. So we want to take this opportunity to meet with potential new suppliers. Also, there will be some transit organizations. So it’s also another thing that we want to meet with potential customer and also potential like collaboration. For example, you know they are like the NYSERDA organization, we provide some programs for electrification. So it’s something like interesting, like to know more, like you know, about the New York ecosystem. It would be quite interesting.

Steve Melito: Great. Well, I certainly look forward to seeing you next month in Plattsburgh. I think it’ll be a great panel discussion. We’ll be talking about the supply chain and the transportation industry, and it will also cover aerospace as well as ground.

Nicolas Letendre: Yes, thank you very much. I’m looking forward to that event.

Steve Melito: Excellent. It’s been wonderful having you on the podcast. We’ve been talking to Nicolas Latendre, the president and founder of Latenda, a Quebec-based manufacturer of zero emissions buses. Nicholas and I will be at the Quebec New York Transportation Rendezvous in B2B in Plattsburgh, New York, on March 19th 2024. And we hope to see you there. Over 100 people have already signed up, so don’t wait to make plans. The way to register, you just need to visit this link slash calendar, slash detail slash 476. If you didn’t get all of that, don’t worry. Just Google Quebec New York Transportation Rendezvous and B2B and if all else fails, just go to So, on behalf of FuzeHub and New York State Manufacturing now this is Steve Melito signing off.

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