Lion Electric Opens Manufacturing Facility for All-Electric Commercial Vehicles

The Lion Electric Company opened a 900,000 square foot facility in Joliet, IL, that will serve as a U.S. plant dedicated to all-electric medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicle production. According to the company, the facility is the largest of its kind.

Located about an hour from Chicago, the facility is expected to have a manufacturing capacity of 2,500 all-electric school buses at the end of 2023. At full scale, the plant has an estimated production capacity of 20,000 vehicles per year made up of a combination of both buses and trucks, which the company estimates should require around 1,400 skilled workers.

Lion Electric chose Illinois for the state’s resources, its central proximity to customers and the domestic supply base, and for how its own vision aligns with the state’s common goals for a more sustainable future.

“We are at the forefront of a manufacturing rebirth in the United States, and together with Governor J.B. Pritzker and his team, industry stakeholders and EV advocates, we are creating the next era of transportation in the Midwest, with a critical need to reduce carbon emissions, strengthen the region’s economic vitality and support sustainability,” Marc Bédard, CEO and founder of Lion Electric, said.

Dignitaries, customers, media members, financial analysts, partners and Lion Electric team members attended the facility’s opening, which was celebrated with a daylong event that kicked-off with a press conference and diesel fuel hose (ribbon) cutting ceremony. U.S. and Illinois government officials that took part included: Terry D’Arcy, mayor of Joliet, IL; Pritzker; U.S. Senator Richard Durbin; and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth. The event was also attended by nearly 150 students from the Boys & Girls Club of Chicago and Com Ed’s Youth Ambassador Program, who learned about future job opportunities in the green economy. The students toured the factory and heard from Lion Electric’s technicians, assembly workers and staff about the electric vehicle industry in addition to riding in a zero-emission LionC school bus.

“Lion Electric has been a stalwart partner in building Illinois’ nation-leading electric vehicle manufacturing industry, creating a sustainable network of good-paying jobs that support our communities while also making our state cleaner and greener,” Pritzker said. “This new facility is a shining example of what smart investments and partnerships between the public and private sectors can create, and I congratulate Lion Electric and their partners on the official opening.”

“With the cutting-edge technology and innovative spirit of Lion Electric, we are driving the transformation of the transportation sector towards emission-free solutions,” Durbin said. “This facility will not only create job opportunities but also strengthen America’s position as a global leader in electric vehicle manufacturing. I commend Lion Electric for their commitment to decarbonizing the transportation sector and look forward to witnessing the positive impact this facility will have on our transportation landscape.”

“Lion Electric is a good example of the future of manufacturing,” Duckworth said. “It’s fitting they’ve chosen Illinois as their home for this manufacturing facility because Illinois is where the future of manufacturing will happen. Supporting green manufacturing and green energy benefits us all in so many ways. We’re creating jobs, saving money and developing a more sustainable, safer and healthier world not just for ourselves but for our kids and generations to come.”

The official opening included a tour of Lion Electric’s new school bus production line, a truck and bus ride and an exploration of all-electric bodied-up Lion Electric truck applications that were on display. Argonne National Laboratory and Joliet Junior College, which are partnering with Lion Electric on research programs and workforce training and development, were also present at the event. Guests also got a first look at the LionD, Lion Electric’s Type-D school bus prototype that is expected to officially debut later this year.

“Today’s event is monumental for Illinois, as Lion Electric is the first company to make electric buses in the state,” Mark Denzler, president and CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association, said. “Manufacturing is the single largest share of our economy and Lion will help grow a rich and historic legacy of manufacturing.”

“ComEd is thrilled to power Lion Electric’s first-ever U.S. manufacturing plant, where new, locally built EVs will play a critical role in helping our customers move toward fewer emissions and cleaner futures,” Gil C. Quiniones, CEO of ComEd, said. “As a partner on their plans to grow in Joliet from day one, ComEd shares Lion’s commitment to expanding access to electric transportation options that will help lower pollution, enhance air quality and stimulate new jobs and economic growth for the communities of Illinois.”

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