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Another electric vehicle-maker announces Illinois manufacturing facility

Friday, May 7, 2021

* Lion Electric press release

The Lion Electric Company (NYSE: LEV) (TSX: LEV) (“Lion” or the “Company”), a leading manufacturer of all-electric medium and heavy-duty urban vehicles, today announced that it has selected Joliet, Ill., for the construction of its U.S. manufacturing facility. The new facility will represent the largest dedicated production site for zero-emission medium and heavy-duty vehicles in the U.S. and Lion’s biggest footprint in the market, giving the company the ability to meet the increasing demand in the marketplace for “Made in America” zero-emission vehicles, while simultaneously bringing production closer to its customers. As part of its agreement with the government of Illinois, Lion has committed to an initial investment of at least U.S. $70 million over a 3-year period.

The 900,000 sq-ft facility, for which building ramp up is anticipated in the second half of 2021, is expected to add a minimum of 745 clean energy direct jobs to the region over the next three years, with an annual production capacity of up to 20,000 all-electric buses and trucks. 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. […]

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.

* The Patch has a higher jobs number

“It’s another exciting opportunity here in Joliet and Will County,” remarked Will County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant during an interview with Joliet Patch on Friday morning.

Joliet’s history included “an old generation of manufacturing” and Friday’s news of Lion Electric opening a large vehicle factory on Youngs Road “welcomes a new generation of manufacturing.

“It’s a great comeback after the pandemic,” Bertino-Tarrant added, saying the Lion Electric construction project marked a $130 million capital investment and 1,400 permanent jobs.

…Adding… A Lion executive said at the press conference that 1,400 jobs would be created over 5 or 6 years.

…Adding… DCEO says the company is receiving an Edge tax credit worth a total of $7.9 million if they put $70 million into capital investments in the site create more than 700 jobs within the first three years of the agreement.

* Pritzker press release excerpt…

“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 Governor 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 new 900,000 SF 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.

“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,” said Marc Bedard, CEO and Founder of Lion. “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 tech 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.”

* One of their school buses…


- Posted by Rich Miller        

32 Comments
  1. - Dysfunction Junction - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 10:20 am:

    School buses and mail/package delivery vehicles would seem to be the “lowest hanging fruit” on the tree for EV adoption (fixed routes, fleet charging during off hours, etc.). And Illinois is well positioned to be a tough competitor in both markets with Rivian and now Lion in the state. Well played, JB.


  2. - Socially DIstant Watcher - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 10:28 am:

    It’s a shame no one’s hitting the klaxon about what a terrible state Illinois is and is going to be.

    Or, maybe these companies knew the forecasts and decided to locate here anyway? Maybe the death spiral nonsense is overblown?


  3. - Downstate - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 10:31 am:

    With this and Rivian, it’s great to see Illinois landing companies in electric vehicle production.


  4. - Henry Francis - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 10:42 am:

    Great news. I couldn’t find anywhere what the state is providing. Is it just EDGE tax credits, or are there additional funds.


  5. - Norseman - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 10:43 am:

    This is great news. Now it would be great if IL’s congressional delegation can get behind Biden’s initiative to expand the number of charging stations throughout the country. IL’s new electric vehicles won’t go far without the infrastructure to support them. I know, I know the GQP is far more concerned about lying to the public than in the country’s infrastructure.


  6. - Cable Line Beer Gardener - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 10:43 am:

    It would be a win-win if those buses had seatbelts.


  7. - Dysfunction Junction - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 10:43 am:

    Agreed, Downstate. Now if only someone had an idea of how to charge all these new vehicles without adding to carbon emissions.

    Wait…


  8. - The Ford Lawyer - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 10:59 am:

    This is exciting. An I-55 corridor for electric vehicle production could be in the works. Big industrial complexes needs all kinds of supplies- what better place to locate factories and warehouses for parts, equipment and supplies than along an interstate with two big electric vehicle manufacturers nearby?


  9. - Chicagonk - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 11:00 am:

    Lion is an established company as well (I’d be much more skeptical if it was a company like Nikola or Workhorse).


  10. - Grandson of Man - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 11:07 am:

    Congrats and welcome to Illinois. Northeast Illinois, for one, is a huge and attractive market, as so many corporations who relocate here know.


  11. - Third Reading - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 11:08 am:

    GOP headline: We told you Pritzker was lion


  12. - JS Mill - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 11:11 am:

    @Socially Distant- exactly. I am waiting for LP to find something bad about this news.

    We will be looking at going to fully electric for our bus fleet in two years when our lease is up for renewal. We will save on fuel, maintenance, much safer without having to store fuel on sight.


  13. - Mason born - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 11:14 am:

    That’s great news, it’ll be interesting to see what range they can get. That size of frame should allow them to go for larger and heavier batteries then an automobile. Either way more jobs for IL.

    As a plus in 6-10 yrs the float trip drivers might not be pumping the bus full of diesel exhaust.


  14. - levivotedforjudy - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 11:25 am:

    Another prominent clip for JB’s re-election ads. This is a good win.


  15. - Anon221 - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 11:26 am:

    “Lion Electric Closes Business Combination with Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp. and will Debut as a Publicly Traded Company”… https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/lion-electric-closes-business-combination-with-northern-genesis-acquisition-corp-and-will-debut-as-a-publicly-traded-company-301286196.html


  16. - sulla - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 11:28 am:

    Awesome news!!! Congratulations to my economic development colleagues up in Joliet for this win.

    900k sf of new greenfield construction? Wow!!!


  17. - Candy Dogood - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 11:38 am:

    ===- Anon221 - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 11:26 am:===

    Lion Electric went public through a SPAC, a special-purpose acquisition company. It’s the new “it” thing to be doing on Wall Street. Organize a SPAC, sell however many shares at $10.00 or something to raise money, and find an agreement to “buy” a company to take it public and basically once word of the company acquisition goes public, or even the rumor, the SPAC shares will jump in value pretty much immediately allowing folks that sell in this early process to pocket a pretty penny. Usually the stocks in a SPAC significantly devalue a couple of earnings reports later.

    This shouldn’t have bearing on whether or not the company succeeds in Illinois as long as they’re able to find customers for their product and manufacture it, they should be good. Just ignore the share price/value, especially since SPACs often trade above the price the SPAC was set at even if they own nothing, haven’t identified a company to take public, or done anything other than exist.

    They’re like crypto currency — just raw speculation, but if the SPAC doesn’t take a company public by a set deadline the investors get their money back.


  18. - RNUG - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 11:42 am:

    == decided to locate here anyway? ==

    As they say in Real Estate … Location, Location, Location

    Water, rail and road infrastructure plus a more or less central location in the nation. Add a skilled workforce, add in a few government incentives, and you have a winning mix.

    The whipped cream and cherry on top is a known history of the State and local governments being able to be worked for tax breaks (although that may not be true in the future).

    Yes, Illinois has high taxes, but they are predictable. Companies can deal with predictable expenses.


  19. - Dysfunction Junction - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 11:42 am:

    @JSMill - I’ll make a prediction on the LP front: It’ll be something about the impact on out-of work diesel mechanics, downstate oil wells, coal miners, argle bargle. And probably a link to a study that’s only tangentially related to the topic at hand (lower road fuel tax revenues for example). Then a quick retort from OW or myself. Then silence from LP.


  20. - Chicago Cynic - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 11:42 am:

    But wait, I thought the GOP said JB was a job killing, Illinois Exodus machine. You mean they were not telling the truth?

    Seriously, though, this is a hugely positive news. The creation of an Illinois EV ecosystem is incredibly important for our economic future. Illinois was already home to more renewable companies headquarters than anywhere else in the country. Illinois can win the future. Glad the governor is seizing upon that opportunity.


  21. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 11:44 am:

    I’ve never heard of SPACs before. Maybe this guy should organize an SPAC.
    https://www.dailyherald.com/news/20210505/we-think-horse-racing-is-far-from-dead-ex-arlington-park-leader-wants-to-redevelop-site


  22. - Anon221 - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 12:17 pm:

    More on Lion SPAC…https://financialpost.com/technology/how-lion-electric-scrapped-plans-for-a-solo-ipo-jumped-on-the-spac-bandwagon-and-ended-up-with-a-us1-9b-valuation


  23. - anon2 - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 12:22 pm:

    Perhaps Lion doesn’t believe the GOP rhetoric about the huge exodus from the Land of Lincoln due to Democrats. Wouldn’t it be great if leaders in both parties touted this win for their state?


  24. - Third Reading - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 12:27 pm:

    anon3, or perhaps this is the slogan …

    If Illinoisans are leaving the state by the busload, we want to make sure that bus is electric. We’re Lion Electric and we’re proud to be part of Illinois’ future.


  25. - Amalia - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 12:31 pm:

    Fantastic news. forward thinking. South side of the metro area getting great new biz.


  26. - Give Us Barabbas - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 12:47 pm:

    This is good news for people with lungs. If you ever had to hang around a school while the diesel busses idled, or drove behind one blowing out huge sooty clouds of noxious smoke, you are cheering this announcement.


  27. - Jibba - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 12:48 pm:

    If 18,000 people in a decade is “busloads”, that equals a bus about every week and a half. Not exactly a stampede.

    Worst thing about this is that Joliet is one of the few places in Illinois with a water shortage.


  28. - EssentialStateEmployeeFromChatham - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 12:54 pm:

    ==This is exciting. An I-55 corridor for electric vehicle production could be in the works.==

    Maybe bring that I-55 corridor about 60 miles south, to Springfield. Langfelder, start pushing for factories and blue-collar jobs like electronic vehicle production facilities to come to the city and focus less on Y-block parks, Public Markets, and sports complexes when seeking vehicles for city and area economic development.


  29. - Dysfunction Junction - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 1:17 pm:

    Anon2 - what would be *even* better is if leaders in both parties worked for in advance for wins like this in our state. Instead, we get headlines like: “Rauner again claims no company would take car plant”

    https://www.sj-r.com/opinion/20180516/bernard-schoenburg-rauner-again-claims-no-company-would-take-car-plant

    Said the proud grandchild of Swedish immigrants: “We tried to get another … car manufacturer to take over the plant. No one would come in. No one would even take the plant if we gave it to them, because our regulations are so hostile to business and our taxes are so high.”

    Love to see someone down in Florida press him for a reaction to today’s announcement. Crow is supposedly a local delicacy.


  30. - Mugs - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 2:05 pm:

    High-tech manufacturers in northern Will County mention these reasons for locating here: quality area schools at all levels; transportation network; proximity to Argonne; proximity to Chicago, which their employees dig for sports, culture and entertainment.


  31. - DuPage - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 3:00 pm:

    Good for Illinois, Joliet, and Will County.


  32. - Six Degrees of Separation - Friday, May 7, 21 @ 3:58 pm:

    ===900k sf of new greenfield construction? Wow!!!===
    Another typical day for Will County, where they grow 1M SF buildings like trees. Good to see a mix of manufacturing as well as logistics coming to the county. One of my clients described Will County as “the Texas of Illinois”…and in a way, it is. Except that the infrastructure to support it all needs to catch up.


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