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LiftUP’s Insulated Electric Aerial Ladder Enters U.S. Market with Proven Canadian Experience

LiftUP’s Insulated Electric Aerial Ladder Enters U.S. Market with Proven Canadian Experience

LiftUP has recently introduced the RH38DGA telescopic insulated aerial ladder, mounted on Ford’s E-Transit and Transit cargo vans to the United States. This initiative represents a convergence of aerial work platform innovation with an emphasis on environmental sustainability and safety for telecom and utility work. 

Richard Vermette, the vice president of sales at LiftUP, provided in-depth insights into the origins, development, and unique features of this new lift.

Genesis of Innovation

The story of LiftUP’s foray into aerial solutions dates back over three decades, rooted in the establishment of Robert Hydraulique (RH) in Canada. For more than 25 years, RH has worked with Bell Canada, one of the country’s largest telecommunications providers. 

Based in Colorado, LiftUP is the distributor for the RH38DGA telescopic insulated aerial ladder in the U.S. 

Reflecting on this journey, Vermette shared, “RH has been in business for 30 years, mainly producing aerial ladders for Bell Canada, Hydro-Quebec, etc. By putting these ladders on smaller and mid-size vans, telecom companies really gravitated toward this solution.”

Vermette says this strategic expansion was motivated by a vision to help telecom companies in states like California and Colorado meet increasing government sustainability requirements. 

“We created LiftUP specifcally to develop the United States market for this product,” Vermette said. 

Embracing Environmental Responsibility

The RH38DGA’s design prioritizes safety, efficieny and eco-friendliness. 

It has a working height of 38', a horizontal reach of 26'6" a bucket capacity of 350 lbs. and can lift a total of 550 lbs.

The electric van and mounted ladder have a total maximum payload of 3,800 lbs.

Completely independent from the vehicle, the boom ladder operates off its own battery pack which means no emissions when in operation and no PTO needed.

The RH38DGA telescopic insulated aerial ladder, mounted on Ford’s E-Transit van has an approximate 126 mile range when fully charged.

For companies that don’t want to fully commit to an electric vehicle but still want to meet their sustainability goals, a gas version is available.

LiftUP’s insulated aerial ladder still operates fully electric on a Ford gas-powered Transit van.

The van has up to 487.3 cu. ft. of cargo space and a maximum payload of 5,110 lbs.

“If you’re working with the EV, you’re 100% electric, and that means zero emissions all across the board. If you’re working on the gas version of ours, the only difference is, you’re running an engine to drive it from point A to point B,” Vermette said

Vermette continued, “Any other time you’re utilizing the van for operational purposes in that, the keys are turned off and in your pocket, you’re not running the engine.”

Cost Savings

Because both the van and ladder together are lightweight, Vermette explained there is hardly any wear and tear on the tires. He says both this feature and the reduced gas consumption help fleet owners reduce maintenance costs. 

“I think if someone brings in a fleet of, say, 100 vehicles and trades them in, say, with ours, within the first year, they would dramatically decrease their cost on fuel consumption as far as the tires are concerned,” Vermette said. 

He added, “ They’d end up probably saving a good 30 to 40 % of just maintenance in year one. That’s considerable in today’s world.”

Vermette also says becuase his company does not modify the vans, the complete warranty from Ford remains intact, further offering significant reductions in operational costs. 


For LiftUP, collaborating with Ford on the E-Transit and Transit vans was a deliberate choice, reflecting shared values of innovation and sustainability. Vermette says a benefit of his company’s fusion with Ford are the telematics solutions the automaker offers to LiftUP’s customers. 

“They’re going to know where they’re going and all their appointments can all be managed from a distance,” Vermette said.

Broadening Accessibility

A unique aspect of the RH38DGA is its accessibility, owing to the lack of a commercial driver’s license (CDL) requirement for operation. 

“There’s no CDL requirements or medical card required. This is a big plus with the hiring challanges many companies face. You have all these good technicians that don’t have their CDLs and fleets have to have a second operator drive the vehicle,” Vermette stated. 

This feature significantly widens the user base, allowing skilled technicians to utilize the equipment without additional licensing barriers.


Since the van has no outriggers, many ask Vermette about safety with the lift. LiftUP complies with OSHA and does extensive stability testing, filming them for legal purposes, and tracking each unit’s VIN number. 

“We do our stability tests at the van’s maximum capabilities,” Vermette stated. 

Vermette says the test proves the product is safe. The company has never had anyone tip the unit over in all the 30 years of their existence. 

“If anybody ever would tip over, it’s because they would have gone way overboard somewhere, somehow, because there’s even safety features that if you’re going to go above that capacity load, the cylinder will actually release and it won’t give you the capability of going up in the air anymore. So, it does keep you in a safe position,” Vermette added. 

In addition to this safety measure, the Ford EV model has a battery pack that’s underneath the floor, which gives operators a strong counterweight. 

Made in North America

Vermette also proudly shared that the LiftUP’s RH38DGA insulated aerial ladder, mounted on Ford’s E-Transit and Transit cargo vans are made in North America. 

“I‘m Canadian, but we’re all North American people. We manufacture the insulated telescopic ladder 100% from our plants in Montreal, Canada, except for a couple of other components, like just certain cylinders that we build, but we’re going local with that too,” he said. 

After the ladders are assembled in Canada they are then exported over and assembled in Fort Morgan, Colorado. Vermette says his company is proud to contribute to the U.S economy by providing a useful product and good-paying jobs. 

Beyond the Horizon

Vermette underscored the RH38DGA’s role not just as a product, but as a harbinger of the future in aerial work platforms. 

“We’re not just following trends; we’re setting them,” he remarked, alluding to the strategic alignment with Ford’s electric van. 

LiftUP’s vision extends far beyond meeting current market demands. The company is actively anticipating future trends and infrastructure developments. 

The company is not merely responding to the trends but is actively providing solutions for telecoms and municipalities, one electric van at a time. 


Lift & Access is part of the Catalyst Communications Network publication family.