JOLIET, IL—This blue-collar city 40 miles southwest of Chicago was once famous for steelmaking and a notorious prison. Today, Joliet is home to Lion Electric Co.'s new factory, which the Canadian company claims is "the largest all-electric U.S. plant dedicated to medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicle production."

The much-hyped 900,000-square-foot facility recently celebrated its official opening with a diesel fuel hose “ribbon” cutting ceremony attended by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker and U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth.

The facility, located near the site of a former Caterpillar factory, is expected to have a manufacturing capacity of 2,500 electric school buses by the end of this year. Once production fully ramps up, it will be capable of producing 20,000 buses and trucks annually.

“We are at the forefront of a manufacturing rebirth in the United States, and…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,” says Marc Bédard, CEO of Lion Electric.

According to Bédard, Lion Electric chose Illinois for "the state’s resources, its central proximity to customers and the domestic supply base, and for its vision that aligns with the state’s common goals for a more sustainable future."