The first Lion electric school bus made in the USA at the Joliet plant

As electric school buses gain momentum across the U.S., Lion Electric announced Wednesday that it produced its first “made in America” ​​zero-emission LionC EV school bus at its Joliet, Illinois plant.

In May 2021, Lion Electric selected Joliet, Illinois, to be the home of its next US manufacturing facility. The 900,000-square-foot plant was billed as the largest zero-emission zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicle manufacturing site.

Lion Electric was the first mover in medium and heavy duty fully electric vehicles like EV school buses with over 12 years of experience now.

Even before the “all-in” mentality spread across the globe for electric vehicles and zero-emission technology to limit the environmental impact of the transport sector, Lyon was entirely focused on electrification. The company’s dedication has paid off, with over 700 electric vehicles on the road 10 million miles utilizing its platforms.

Lion has several major customers across North America for its electric trucks (Amazon, Ikea) and buses (First Student, LA USD, STA, National Express, ZUM).

To help customers convert to electric power, Lion offers a complete solution, including EV selection, charging infrastructure support, grants, financing, training, maintenance and communication.

Until now, Lion has manufactured its electric vehicles at its dedicated 200,000-square-foot facility near Montreal, Quebec, which also serves as its headquarters and research and development center. With an annual production capacity of 2,500 EVs, Lion is expanding its manufacturing footprint to help the growing demand for electric school buses in the US with its Joliet plant.

During its second-quarter earnings, Lion said it was on track to produce the first electric school buses at its U.S.-based plant by the end of the year, and today the company is making good on that claim.

Lion Electric LionC Zero Emission School Bus Source: Lion Electric

The first Lion electric school bus made in the USA

“Today is an important milestone for Lion,” says Eric Pansegrau, GM of Lion’s Joliet plant, as the first LionC electric school bus rolls off the line.

With recent US climate and funding initiatives, Lion Electric is “well positioned to support school districts with their transition,” offering their full grid approach. For example, the EPA Clean School Bus program (part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act) provides $5 billion in funding to accelerate the rollout of electric school buses in the US. The first round of nearly $1 billion was just awarded to 289 school districts.

Additionally, some cities and states have committed to EV school buses, such as New York, which aims to electrify 100% of its school bus fleet by 2035.

Mr. Pansegrau continued:

We are excited to now be entering the production ramp-up phase, with an initial focus on the all-electric LionC school bus. We will spare no effort in the gradual ramp-up of production, which we anticipate will extend over the coming quarters.

Lyon expects its Joliet plant to have an annual production capacity of 20,000 electric buses and trucks once it expands its manufacturing operations. The site will initially focus on electric school buses to meet growing demand.

Getting Electrek

Lion Electric producing its first EV school bus in the US is a remarkable achievement for the company and the overall transition to fully electric vehicles.

As my colleague Fred Lambert said, the Lion serves as the perfect example of how companies can embrace the transition to electric vehicles. Lion was relatively small compared to other school bus manufacturers, but its early focus on electric propulsion has led them to emerge as the leading school bus manufacturer in all of North America.

With the LionC E school bus now in production in the US, I hope it can accelerate the transition to zero-emission vehicles for school districts.

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