In August 2022, Lion Electric hosted government leaders at the new facility where the company...

In August 2022, Lion Electric hosted government leaders at the new facility where the company prepared to launch production of electric school buses.

Photo: File/Lion Electric

The Lion Electric Company, a manufacturer of all-electric medium and heavy-duty vehicles including school buses, produced its first zero-emission LionC school bus in its U.S. factory located in Joliet, Ill.

"Today is a significant milestone for Lion," said Eric Pansegrau, general manager of the Joliet manufacturing facility. "On behalf of the entire management team, I want to extend my appreciation to all our employees for their passion and commitment over the past few months, as we went from an empty shell of a building here in Joliet, to manufacturing our first made in America zero-emission school bus in roughly 18 months. We are excited to now be entering the ramp-up phase of production, with an initial focus on the all-electric LionC school bus. We will spare no effort in the gradual scale-up of manufacturing, which we anticipate will be spread out over the next few quarters."   

Lion leveraged the experience and knowledge gained from manufacturing the LionC at its Saint-Jérôme site over the past seven years to realize production of the first unit at the Joliet location. The production of the first LionC occurs at a time when the market demand for all-electric school buses is gaining momentum, accelerated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean School Bus Program, under which the EPA awarded funding for over 2,200 all-electric buses to school districts nationwide in October. This was the first round of funding in which $968 million was released out of the $5 billion to be awarded over the next five years. Lion is well positioned to support school districts with their transition, assisting with a complete ecosystem of electrification solutions and services, and backed by the experience of more than 700 all-electric school buses and trucks on the road, which have travelled over 10-million miles in real-world conditions.

Lion will initially focus on the manufacturing of all-electric school buses at its Joliet site, with production gradually ramping up, starting in the fourth quarter of 2022. The Joliet facility is expected to have a production capacity of up to 20,000 all-electric buses and trucks, following the installation of the truck line and after completion of the production ramp-up and scale-up of manufacturing operations.

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