Lion Electric Company, an electric vehicle manufacturer based in Canada, has announced plans to build the company's first-ever U.S. manufacturing facility in Illinois, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Friday.
The company will invest a minimum of $70 million over three years to build a new facility to produce medium and heavy-duty electric vehicles in Joliet, Pritzker said in a statement. The 900,000 square foot facility is expected to open in the second half of 2022 and will bring at least 745 manufacturing jobs to the area, he said.
The facility will have an annual production capacity of 20,000 zero-emission vehicles a year, officials said, and will be the largest plant of its kind in the country.
"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," Pritzker said in a statement, adding, "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."
"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,” Lion founder and CEO Marc Bedard said. "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."
Officials said the state Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity worked with its public-private economic development partner Intersect Illinois to put together a site selection process that included site visits, economic analysis and more.