Canadian EV maker eyes American school bus market as Biden term nears – CNBC

A Canadian electric vehicle maker is eyeing factory space in the United States as the company looks to capitalize on the electrified future that President-elect Joe Biden has laid out in his agenda.

Lion Electric, the electric school bus manufacturer set to go public in months through a blank-check merger, plans to open an American plant in the next two years, CEO Marc Bedard told CNBC’s Jim Cramer Wednesday.

Biden, a Democrat, on the campaign trail pledged to direct public funds towards updating the transportation infrastructure, including replacing 500,000 school buses in the country with zero emissions ones by 2030. The plan includes details to build out hundreds of thousands of charging stations across the U.S.

“We’re very well equipped to do that. It’s also one of the reasons, Jim, why we’re opening that factory in the U.S. within the next two years,” Bedard said in a “Mad Money” interview. “That factory in itself will allow the manufacturing capacity of over 20,000 units per year.”

Lion Electric, a private company that launched 12 years ago, is set to begin trading on public markets when it merges with Northern Genesis Acquisition Corp, a special purpose acquisition company, through a transaction that’s expected to close in March.

The company plans to use the proceeds to fund its growth plans, including expanding battery production. Lion Electric began selling electric school buses in 2016 and reports having more than 300 vehicles currently operating on roads.

Outside of selling buses, Lion Electric also markets a line of commercial urban trucks. The company also has a contract with Amazon, one company that has committed to reducing its carbon footprint, to deliver up to 2,500 units over the next five years.

Bedard explained that the agreement commits a maximum 500 vehicles to be sold to the e-commerce giant, leaving capacity for other potential clients. The deal also leaves room for Amazon to place more orders for the all-electric Lion 6 and Lion 8 trucks.

“This is the start of a very great long-term I hope relationship,” Bedard told Cramer.

Shares of Northern Genesis Acquisition surged more than 7% during Wednesday’s session and were up almost double digits in afterhour trading. The stock has run 65% thus far this year, closing at $29.37 on Wednesday.