Electric vehicle manufacturer Lion Electric Company to build first-ever US plant in Joliet

JOLIET, Ill. (WLS) -- A Canadian company that makes electric vehicles is building a plant in Illinois and will be bringing more than 800 jobs to the state.

Fully Electric buses are the future and the future is rolling cleanly and quietly in to Illinois.

The news will be a huge economic boost for the Joliet area where the manufacturing plant is already under construction, The company is expecting to start hiring people soon.

"We're bringing green jobs, selling a product that creates a healthier environment for workers, for students, for passengers and communities across this great country," said Nate Baguio, Lion Electric VP Sales.

The Joliet site will be the largest production plant of its kind in the US at 900,000 square feet, and Lion Electric will invest at least $70 million to build the facility.

They chose the location in part because of its proximity to highways and railways. The longterm impact will also be huge for the economy and environment.

"These are future proof jobs, these aren't jobs that come and go. They're not temporary jobs. These are jobs, you know that are looking at a clean renewable future," said State Sen John Connor, (D) Joliet.

Governor JB Pritzker arrived in Chicago Friday morning on an electric bus made by Lion Electric after touring the facility earlier in the morning with local officials and company representatives.

Lion Electric manufactures electric trucks and busses at a facility in Quebec, Canada.

The facility in Joliet will bring more than 800 jobs to the area in the next three years, with a total of 1,400 jobs within six years.

The company expects to be producing about 20,000 electric vehicles a year.

"This is a big deal," Governor Pritzker said. "Let me start with the fact that these are, we talk about solid manufacturing jobs in an industry that is growing and in a company that is growing like Lion Electric at the rate that it's growing, this present enormous opportunity."

"We will start hiring some workforce within the next few weeks, so we're starting right now, and we anticipate the first vehicles will start rolling off the production line in the second half of 2022," said Mark Bedard, Lion Electric CEO.

The company CEO appeared via video due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The state did provide $7.9 million in financial incentives that come with stipulations about investments and jobs. The company citing the easy access to highways and rail among the reasons for choosing the Joliet site.
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