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Lion Electric Co. to open new U.S. manufacturing plant


The Lion Electric Company, a Montreal-based manufacturer of all-electric medium and heavy-duty urban vehicles, will build a new plant in Joliet, Ill.

The new facility will represent the largest dedicated production site for zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles in the U.S. and Lion’s biggest footprint in the market, which the company says gives ability to manufacture “Made in America” zero-emission vehicles and localizing its supply chain i the U.S.

As part of its agreement with the government of Illinois, Lion has committed to an initial investment of at least US$70 million over a three-year period.

The 900,000 square-foot facility, which will begin construction in the second half of 2021, is expected to add a minimum of 745 clean energy direct jobs to the region over the next three years, with an annual production capacity of up to 20,000 all-electric buses and trucks. The plant will help the U.S. market move to electric school buses, and the government to electrify its transportation fleet.

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Lion anticipates that the first vehicles will roll off the production line in the second half of 2022.

“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,” says Marc Bedard, CEO and founder of Lion, in a statement.

“I also want to acknowledge the crucial role that P33 and Intersect Illinois, civic groups committed to 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.”

The Will County region has a rich history of manufacturing, and Lion plans to build a robust local supply chain within the area. In addition, the Joliet location offers Lion a geographically centralized base of manufacturing and operations, with access to key infrastructure and distribution channels.

All of Lion’s vehicles are purpose-built for electric propulsion from the ground up, assembled in North America and are distributed and serviced through the company’s network of “experience centres” including locations in California, New York, Washington, Florida and Arizona.