The Lion Electric Company officially opened its 900,000 square-foot Joliet, Illinois facility in a July 21 ceremony. Billed as the largest all-electric U.S. plant dedicated to medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicle production, 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 in 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 its vision that aligns with the state's common goals for a more sustainable future, according to the commercial EV builder.
Dignitaries, customers, media, financial analysts, partners, and team members attended the opening, a daylong event that kicked-off with a press conference and diesel fuel hose (ribbon) cutting ceremony.
"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," said Gov. Pritzker. "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."
The official opening included guests touring Lion's new school bus production line, a truck and bus ride, and exploring innovative all-electric bodied-up Lion truck applications that were on display. Argonne National Laboratory and Joliet Junior College, which are partnering with Lion on research programs and workforce training and development, were also present at the celebration. Guests were also treated to an exclusive first look at the LionD, Lion Electric's Type-D school bus prototype that is expected to officially debut later in 2023.
"Today's event is monumental for Illinois as Lion Electric is the first company to make electric buses in the state," said Mark Denzler, president & CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers' Association. "Manufacturing is the single largest share of our economy and Lion will help grow a rich and historic legacy of manufacturing."