MONTREAL -- The federal and Quebec governments are announcing $100 million for an electric vehicle battery plant for the Montreal-area company Lion Electric.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier Francois Legault made the announcement today at Montreal's downtown convention centre.

Trudeau says it's a priority for his government to support the manufacturing sector and projects that will accelerate the electrification of the country's transport systems.

Quebec and Ottawa will each provide $50 million while Lion Electric will put in $85 million in the project for the battery pack assembly plant in St-Jerome, Que., north of Montreal.

The project is expected to create 135 jobs once construction of the plant is completed in 2023. The plant will produce battery packs and modules made from Lithium-ion cells.

"Eighty per cent of the parts used by Lionel electric to build their vehicles are sourced from almost 300 Canadian suppliers," Trudeau said Monday. "So not only will today's investment help create directly more than 285 good jobs over the next few years, it will also support the entire Canadian supply chain."

Lion Electric said the new factory will allow it to control costs related to battery production and to have more control over the design of the batteries it uses in its electric school buses and trucks.

Premier Legault said production of electric cars and buses is expected to ramp up in the coming years and hopes to attract companies like Amazon with this made-in-Canada technology. 

"We have a large majority of our energy coming from electricity. We don’t produce oil in Quebec, so economically every time we switch from oil to electricity we win. Not only for the environment but economically," he said.

"Right now, I really want that we be a major player in buses, trucks and also train and tramways."

Lion's automated factory is projected to produce one battery module every 11 seconds and a full battery pack every 5 minutes, the company said.

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

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 15, 2021 with files from CTV Montreal. 


This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship