Lion Electric plans U.S. manufacturing facility in Joliet, Ill.

May 10, 2021
The facility will have a capacity of 20,000 zero-emission vehicles and is scheduled to begin production in the second half of 2022.

A Montreal-based heavy-duty zero-emission vehicle manufacturer will be putting down roots in Joliet, Ill.

The Lion Electric Company plans to construct a 900,000-square-foot facility with a minimum investment of $70 million. The facility will be Lion Electric’s largest zero-emission vehicle production facility.

Lion Electric manufactures medium and heavy-duty electric vehicles, including the LionM midi/minibus, which was introduced in 2018 and designed specifically for the paratransit market. The new Joliet facility is expected to enter production in the second half of 2022 and will have the capacity to produce 20,000 zero-emission vehicles annually.

"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," said Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker. "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. In Illinois, we know that a clean energy economy is about more than just vehicles - it's about healthier communities and jobs for those who live there. We are excited to welcome Lion to the Land of Lincoln and look forward to their future success here."

The production facility will help the company comply with “Made in America” requirements, as well as help Illinois meet its own energy goals to see one million electric vehicles in the state by 2030.

The state explains the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) worked with the Intersect Illinois to put together a site selection process that involved both virtual and in-person site visits, economic analysis and coordination with local officials and utilities to develop a comprehensive proposal for Lion Electric. The company has qualified for the state's EDGE incentive program, a tool to support companies making large-scale capital investments that lead to significant job creation. The facility is expected to create 745 jobs and as part of its agreement with the government of Illinois, Lion has committed to initial investment of at least $70 million over a three-year period. The company is working with local officials to apply for additional local incentives.

"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. 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 technology 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," said CEO and Founder of Lion Electric Marc Bedard.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.