The Lion Electric Co. plans to construct a battery manufacturing plant and innovation center in...

The Lion Electric Co. plans to construct a battery manufacturing plant and innovation center in Quebec. Shown here is the electric vehicle manufacturer's St. Jerome factory.

Photo courtesy The Lion Electric Co.

Electric vehicle manufacturer The Lion Electric Co. (Lion) announced on Monday plans to construct a battery manufacturing plant and innovation center in Quebec.

Utilizing cutting-edge technology, the factory is expected to begin operating in early 2023, according to a news release from Lion, and will produce battery packs and modules made from lithium-ion cells. Construction is projected to break ground over the next few months at a location to be confirmed soon.

The project and its development represent an investment of approximately $185 million Canadian dollars (CAD) by Lion. Additionally, the project will receive support from the federal and provincial governments of approximately $100 million CAD (amounting to $50 million CAD each), according to the news release.

With the construction of the plant, Lion anticipates a considerable reduction in vehicle manufacturing costs while ensuring control and optimization of a key component of its vehicle supply chain. Given that the battery is the most expensive component of an electric vehicle, Lion added in the news release, this new manufacturing capability will have a direct impact on the development of heavy-duty electric transportation while also offering environmental and economic benefits.

The Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau; the Prime Minister of Quebec François Legault; the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne; and the Minister of the Economy and Innovation Pierre Fitzgibbon, made the announcement, accompanied by Marc Bédard, CEO and founder of Lion Electric, at the Palais des congrès de Montréal convention center.

“This factory will allow Lion to integrate a fundamental element to the supply chain of our electric vehicles,” Bédard said. “Thanks to the financing provided by the federal and provincial governments, we will now be able to manufacture in Canada what we previously imported. Lion, Quebec, and Canada will gain from this, both on the economic and environmental fronts, to the great benefit of generations to come.”

“With today’s announcement, we are continuing to take steps to support our Canadian businesses, invest in innovation, and protect the environment,” Trudeau said. “It is because of companies like Lion Electric that we are accelerating our transition to a resilient and competitive clean growth economy.”

With a planned yearly production capacity of 5 gigawatt-hours in battery storage, Lion will be able to electrify approximately 14,000 medium- and heavy-duty vehicles annually. The manufacturing plant and innovation center will offer Lion many strategic advantages, including a reduction in its battery system production cost as well as a stable line of procurement of battery packs. The highly automated factory is projected to produce one battery module every 11 seconds and a full battery pack every five minutes.

Lion Electric will reportedly be the first Canadian manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles to equip itself with its own automated battery pack manufacturing capability, according to the bus manufacturer.

Meanwhile, Lion’s innovation center will focus on research and development, with the goal of exploring and achieving new advancements in performance, range, energy capacity, and product development, and will allow the company the necessary flexibility to rapidly adapt to emerging technologies. (Similarly, the manufacturer has two Experience Centers, which offer training programs to help educate companies and school districts about electrification, in New York and California.)

Beyond the creation of numerous quality jobs in Quebec — including a projected 135 direct jobs, as well as hundreds more indirect regional jobs — the new facility will become an essential link in a chain of specialized suppliers essential to the electrification of transportation, according to Lion.