Legault bets on Quebec-designed electric trucks

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Lion Electric president Marc Bedard said at the unveiling of his company’s financial results on November 10 that he wanted to “maintain the advantage of being the first in the market.” 

Those words now seem prophetic as Quebec Premier François Legault announced Friday that he believes “support for the development of the industry will be achieved by integrating Quebec-designed electric trucks into the government fleet.” 

This passage is taken from Legault’s document, An Ambitious Economic Vision – A Quebec that Wins, which was tabled at noon Friday and is presumably paving the way for the 2022 provincial election campaign. 

In the press release issued by the Premier’s office, Legault reiterates his ambition for Quebec to reach a level of wealth similar to that of Ontario. To achieve this, he is counting on the purchase of Quebec products, both by the population and by the government he represents. 

“The current pandemic has reminded us that it can be risky to depend on foreign countries for strategic goods,” the government press release said. For his part, Premier Legault said, “I am convinced that by adding the talents of all our workers, all our young people and all our businesses, we are capable of great things.”

Picture of Day & Ross Lion electric truck
(Photo: NACFE)

Lion Advantage 

Since Lion is currently the only Quebec-based manufacturer of large electric trucks, it stands to reason that the ‘made in Quebec’ mandate gives it an advantage. 

In the Electric Trucks chapter of the Economic Vision, the CAQ government points out that the Société des alcools du Québec has already ordered an electric truck from Lion, with delivery scheduled for early 2022. The state-owned company aims to electrify 12% of its fleet. 

Hydro-Québec is also working with the St-Jérôme-based company to develop heavy-duty vehicles that meet the needs of its operations. 

Finally, the Quebec government’s rolling stock management center has contracted for the first Quebec electric truck in August 2021. 

According to the guidance document, “This is a start, and targets for the electrification of government heavy-duty vehicles will flow from these initial experiments.”

Minerals and batteries 

Premier Legault also intends to pursue the development of Quebec’s battery industry, particularly by using minerals extracted from Quebec’s subsoil. 

“The government thus intends to strengthen Quebec’s position as a global supplier of batteries, from mining to the manufacture of key components,” reads the CAQ’s Economic Vision

Once again, Lion is in a good position as it is building a battery manufacturing plant in Mirabel, a project to which the government is contributing financial assistance. 

But it’s not the only one, since Blue Solutions is also making batteries for electric trucks in Boucherville. Ontario-based StromVolt announced a month ago that it plans to build a lithium-ion battery cell plant in Quebec. 

“Quebec has a clear ambition to become a leader in lithium-ion batteries. With its mineral wealth, renewable energies and strong cutting-edge research elements, it is the ideal location for the first cell plant in Canada.” said Maxime Vidricaire, CEO of StromVolt. 

The location of this Quebec plant has not yet been determined. 

The Economic Vision also says it wants to “develop battery recycling using cutting-edge Quebec technologies” by integrating Quebec into a North American battery recycling supply chain. 

Montreal-based Recyclage Lithion, which also received financial assistance from Quebec to build a new plant, could certainly be one of the strongest links in this chain, having just signed a memorandum of understanding with American company Call2Recycle. 

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Eric Berard is a journalist and translator specialized in trucking and logistics. Multiple award winner over his 30-year career, he contributes to trade publications such as Today's Trucking, Truck News and Transport Routier, as he previously did for Montreal daily newspapers La Presse's and Le Devoir's financial pages. With Political Analysis as a university educational background, he’s comfortable with topics that cover a wide spectrum of our society . He can be reached at eric.berard@videotron.ca

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