The Lion Electric Company announced May 10 it had selected Joliet, Illinois as the site of its U.S. manufacturing location, and in a statement said it had committed to invest at least $70 million over the course of 3 years.
The 900,000 square foot location, Lion says, is expected to add at least 745 jobs and attain an annual production capacity of 20,000 electric trucks and buses after becoming operational in the second half of 2022. In picking Illinois, the Canadian-based electric vehicle company aims to bring its production closer to one of its key markets—U.S. school buses.
“Lion is the leader in electric school buses and has always been dedicated to the U.S. market,” said CEO Mark Bedard in a statement. Bedard also credited P33 and Intersect Illinois for their part in “connecting Lion with the Chicago area’s business and civic community,” as well as engaging with area suppliers.
J.B. Pritzker, the governor of Illinois, said Lion’s new location will “put Illinois at the forefront of a national movement to transition to zero-emission vehicle use,” and said he was “excited to welcome Lion to the Land of Lincoln.” The company noted that Joliet offers a geographically centralized base of operations with access to key infrastructure and distribution channels.
In fall 2020, Lion Electric announced a partnership with ABB to produce its electric charging equipment and a deal with delivery giant Amazon for 10 of its battery-electric trucks made in Canada.
According to Lion, the company has delivered at least 390 heavy-duty electric vehicles in North America. The company, founded in 2008 in Quebec, Canada, designs and manufacturers electric-only buses and minibuses for the school, paratransit and mass transit sectors in addition to class 5 to class 8 commercial urban trucks.