A little over two months after announcing plans to construct a battery manufacturing plant and innovation centre in Quebec, Lion Electric is set to further expand its locations, choosing Joliet, Illinois as the site for its new electric medium and heavy-duty vehicle manufacturing facility in the US.
Lion Electric, which was founded in 2008, is an innovative Canadian-based manufacturer of all-electric, zero-emissions, medium and heavy-duty urban vehicles. The company designs, manufactures, and assembles all the components for its vehicles which each come equipped with unique features specifically adapted to the users and their needs.
Lion Electric claims that their new facility “represents the largest dedicated production site for zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles in the US”. The company also believes that the new facility will give Lion Electric the capacity to meet increasing demand for ‘Made in America’ zero-emission vehicles as well as bringing production closer to customers.
The company expects the first vehicles to roll off the production line in the second half of 2022.
The project was hailed by local leaders with Gov. J.B. Pritzker saying “Lion’s historic investment to bring its largest production facility to Illinois represents not only a win for our communities, but a strong step forward in our work to expand clean energy alternatives and the jobs they bring to our communities”.
The Illinois governor continued, saying “The new Joliet facility will put Illinois at the forefront of a national movement to transition to zero-emission vehicle use, advancing our own goals of putting one million of these cars on the road by 2030. In Illinois, we know that a clean energy economy is about more than just vehicles – it’s about healthier communities and jobs for those who live there. We are excited to welcome Lion to the Land of Lincoln and look forward to their future success here.”
Lion Electric has stated that it will invest a minimum of US$70mn into Illinois over the next three years. The new facility – which has a total area of 900,000 square feet – is expected to create a minimum of 745 clean energy direct jobs in the next three years, and is due to have an annual production capacity of up to 20,000 all electric buses and trucks.
As the US continues to move toward electrifying its school buses,Lion Electric hope that the additional production capacity at the facility will help the company to scale its electric bus production, as well as produce an increased volume of heavy-duty zero-emission trucks to help governments and operators in the US accelerate the decarbonisation of freight and transportation fleets.
“Lion is the leader in electric school buses and has always been dedicated to the U.S. market, and our commitment to be close to our customers is one of the core values we have as a company. This significant expansion into the U.S. market will not only allow us to drastically increase our overall manufacturing capacity of electric trucks and buses but to also better serve our customers, while adding critical clean manufacturing jobs that will form the backbone of the green economy,” commented the CEO and founder of Lion Electric, Marc Bedard.
“I also want to acknowledge the crucial role that P33 and Intersect Illinois, civic groups committed to developing developing a long-term roadmap for the local tech industry, played in connecting Lion with the Chicago area’s business and civic community to help further commercial traction, as well as engagement with key workforce and supplier partners.”