Governor JB Pritzker joined elected officials and the Lion Electric Company — a Canadian based manufacturer of all-electric medium and heavy-duty urban vehicles — to announce a significant investment in Illinois, with plans to build the company’s first-ever U.S. manufacturing facility and the largest plant of its kind in the country. A minimum of $70 million will be invested to build a new facility dedicated to producing medium and heavy-duty electric vehicles (EVs) in the U.S. The facility is expected to come online in the second half of 2022, setting into motion annual production capacity of 20,000 zero-emission vehicles a year, and creating at least 745 jobs for Illinoisans.
The new 900,000-square-foot facility represents Lion Electric’s largest dedicated production site in the U.S. The company’s expansion helps respond to increasing demand in the marketplace for “Made in America” zero-emission vehicles, while simultaneously bringing production closer to its customers. Lion’s investments also help bring Illinois closer to its own clean energy goals, with plans to increase adoption of EV’s in the state to one million by 2030.
To support the company in its decision to locate a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) worked with the State’s public-private economic development partner, Intersect Illinois to put together a exhaustive 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. As part of its agreement with the government of Illinois, Lion has committed to initial investment of at least $70 million over a 3-year period. The company is working with local officials to apply for additional local incentives.
The Will County region has a rich history of manufacturing, and Lion plans to build a robust local supply chain within the area. In addition, the Joliet location offers Lion a geographically centralized base of manufacturing and operations, with access to key infrastructure and distribution channels.
This additional production capacity will aid Lion in scaling electric bus production as the U.S. market moves to electrify a large portion of its school bus fleet, as well as to produce a larger number of heavy-duty zero-emission trucks as governments and operators throughout the U.S. look to decarbonize freight and transportation fleets. Lion anticipates that the first vehicles will roll off the production line in the second half of 2022.
Over the last decade, Lion has established itself as a leader in the zero-emission heavy-duty vehicle industry, having delivered over 390 all-electric heavy-duty vehicles in North America with over 7 million miles driven since 2016. All of Lion’s vehicles are purpose-built for electric propulsion from the ground up, assembled in North America and are distributed and serviced through the Company’s network of Experience Centers, including locations in California, New York, Washington, Florida and Arizona.
Illinois is poised for strong growth in the EV sector in the years ahead, with industry experts predicting EV jobs to double by 2024. To ensure Illinois has a pipeline of skilled talent to meet demands, the State of Illinois recently announced a $15 million investment to develop two Manufacturing Training Academies that will help boost skills training for a variety of jobs supporting growth of the manufacturing industry, including training for electric vehicle manufacturing.