The Lion Electric Company has initiated a new chapter in electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing with the formal inauguration of its 900,000 square-foot facility in Joliet, Illinois. This factory, the largest all-electric plant in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to the production of medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicles, is strategically located about an hour from Chicago. The facility is projected to manufacture 2,500 all-electric school buses by the end of 2023. Once fully operational, it can produce an estimated 20,000 vehicles annually, encompassing both buses and trucks. This manufacturing scale will necessitate approximately 1,400 skilled workers.
Why It Matters
Lion Electric selected Illinois for its wealth of resources, central location relative to customers and the domestic supply base, and vision for a sustainable future that echoes the company’s ethos. Marc Bédard, CEO-Founder of Lion Electric, highlighted the pivotal role of Lion Electric and key state figures in fostering a renaissance in American manufacturing. The intent is to build the next era of transportation in the Midwest, geared towards reducing carbon emissions, enhancing regional economic prosperity, and advancing sustainability.
- The opening ceremony was attended by dignitaries, customers, media, financial analysts, partners, and team members.
- Prominent attendees included Terry D’Arcy, Mayor of Joliet; Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker; U.S. Senator Richard (Dick) Durbin, and U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth.
- Close to 150 students from the Boys & Girls Club of Chicago and Com Ed’s Youth Ambassador Program were present to explore job opportunities in the green economy. These students toured the factory, interacted with Lion’s staff, and rode a zero-emission LionC school bus.
- The event featured tours of Lion’s new school bus production line, rides in a truck and bus, and a preview of Lion Electric’s Type-D school bus prototype, LionD, set to debut later in 2023.
- Lion Electric’s partnerships with Argonne National Laboratory and Joliet Junior College for research and workforce development were showcased.
This newly launched facility epitomizes the powerful outcomes that can emerge from intelligent investments and partnerships between public and private sectors. It underscores Lion Electric’s role in driving the transformation of the transportation sector towards emission-free solutions. As the first company to manufacture electric buses in Illinois, Lion Electric is poised to expand the state’s manufacturing legacy, create jobs, and contribute to a more sustainable future.