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Lion opens 900,000-sq.-ft. commercial vehicle EV facility

Company says facility is the largest of its kind in the U.S.

IMAGE: Lion Electric's Jolliet, Ill. facility
Lion Electric's Joliet, Ill. facility. (Courtesy Lion Electric Company)

The Lion Electric Company has officially opened its 900,000-square-foot Joliet, Ill. facility, the largest location in the U.S. dedicated to the production of all-electric medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles.

The facility is to have a manufacturing capacity of 2,500 all-electric school buses annually by the end of 2023. Lion Electric says when operating at full speed the plant has an estimated production capacity of 20,000 vehicles per year, a combination of both buses and trucks, which the company estimates should require around 1,400 skilled workers.

"We are at the forefront of a manufacturing rebirth in the United States, and together with governor J.B. Pritzker and his team, industry stakeholders and EV advocates, we are creating the next era of transportation in the Midwest, with a critical need to reduce carbon emissions, strengthen the region's economic vitality and support sustainability," Marc Bédard, CEO and founder of Lion Electric, said in a statement.

Saint-Jérôme, Que.-based Lion Electric (LEV-T) is now the first company to produce electric buses in Illinois.

The company also plans to debut the LionD, its Type-D electric school bus prototype, later this year.

Simard Transport partners with Cleo

Lachine, Que.-based Simard Transport has expanded its electrification efforts with four new electric trucks and a partnership with Hydro-Québec subsidiary Cleo to oversee its charging infrastructure.

“We are delighted to collaborate with Simard Transport to offer our turnkey service and dynamic charging management through our smart platform," Jeff Desruisseaux, Cleo’s CEO, said in a statement.

"Cleo's mission is to support fleet operators from all sectors in their successful transition to electrification. This collaboration will drive the transformation of heavy transportation toward a sustainable future." 

The four eCascadia trucks were manufactured by Freightliner and come equipped with a 438 kilowatt-hour battery – equivalent to a 470-horsepower engine. Simard used the Montreal headquartered GLOBOCAM heavy truck dealership to facilitate the delivery, which a release states is the first to a Quebec-based carrier by a Quebec dealer.

GLOBOCAM is the largest network of heavy truck dealerships in Quebec.

The electrification effort will also include two, 120-kilowatt Detroit eFill charging stations and ABB DC, 24-kilowatt Wallbox charging stations.

B.C. makes $395.5M investment in electric transit

The B.C. government and BC Transit have announced a joint investment of more than $395.5 million to purchase up to 115 battery electric buses and install 134 charging points across the province.

The federal government also contributed to the investment.

BC Transit has a goal of attaining an electric fleet by 2040 while the Canadian government has a goal of putting 5,000 zero-emission public transit and school buses on Canada's roads by 2026.

"BC Transit is pleased to work with our federal, provincial and local government partners to deliver environmentally sustainable modes of transportation that our transit customers can rely on. Funding provided through the Zero Emission Transit Fund and the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program supports phase 1 of BC Transit's plans to have our fleet fully electric by 2040,” Erinn Pinkerton, BC Transit’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

“I thank our partners for their continuous support as we make the exciting and necessary shift towards cleaner modes of transportation."

Exro partners with global OEM

Exro Technologies Inc. (EXRO-T) has partnered with an unidentified global automaker to design a proof-of-concept Coil Driver inverter plus motor system designed specifically for its electric passenger vehicles.

The driver utilizes coil switching, the ability to switch electric motor configurations while in use, to maximize speed and torque. The concept is not new, but most electric vehicle models require multiple motors and gearboxes — the Coil Driver eliminates that requirement.

The parties anticipate completion for the proof-of-concept by the end of Q4, followed by delivery of functional prototypes to the original equipment manufacturer by the end of Q4 2024. 

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