The Canadian electric bus manufacturer Lion Electric has opened its plant in Joliet in the US state of Illinois.
From the end of the year, up to 2,500 school buses are to roll off the production line there each year.
The production capacity of 2,500 vehicles per year is said to be just the beginning.
According to Lion Electric, the 84,000-square-metre facility will be further expanded.
When fully expanded, the manufacturer aims to have an annual production capacity of up to 20,000 all-electric buses and trucks.
However, the company is not disclosing when the full expansion will be completed.
“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 Illinois Governor JB Pritzker, who was on hand for the plant’s opening.
“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.”
Lion Electric plans to create 1,400 new jobs at its plant. However, this will only happen when it is entirely completed.
The manufacturer also cooperates with Argonne National Laboratory and Joliet Junior College on research programmes and workforce training and development, as electrive informed.
Lion Electric first presented the plans for the plant in May 2021.
At that time, the company still expected the first vehicles to roll off the production line in the second half of 2022; a promise that the Canadian company fulfilled in November 2022.
Lion Electric wants to meet the growing demand for ‘Made in America’ emissions-free vehicles.
The US government not only wants to increase the number of zero-emission heavy-duty trucks, but also to electrify a large part of the school bus fleet.
Earlier this year, the US manufacturer made headlines again after filing a lawsuit against Nikola Motors.
The background to the dispute is a major contract that Lion Electric had awarded to the battery manufacturer Romeo Power in 2020, which has since been taken over by Nikola.
Nikola then cancelled the order after the takeover.