Transport electrification is at the heart of economic recovery. In Quebec, Marc Bedard, CEO of electric bus and truck maker Lion, has been making his mark for quite some time now, but this year his business really took off. From the first cars sold in 2016 to his company’s initial public offering last spring, the entrepreneur doesn’t intend to stop there.
“2021 has been a very important year,” says Mr Bedard. His company located in Saint-Jérôme, in the Laurentians, took an important step last spring, moving from private to public status.
“May 7th was a quiet day! »Relaxes the businessman. “Early in the morning, we announced the new plant in Illinois, USA. Then, when the markets opened, the company’s shares began trading on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges. At 4pm, the bell rang for the stock exchange to close. But 15 minutes before, my daughter wrote to tell me That she had just given birth to her baby, although that was scheduled for a few days after that. It all happened at the same time. I’m telling you… It was unbelievable,” he falls moving.
The former partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers gave up everything to found his electric bus company in 2008, already convinced of the need for a turnaround. “In the beginning, we were almost the only ones with the crew of the Pilgrims. Now, the question is no longer whether there will be electrification in the transmission, but rather what rate it will be done,” Mr. Bedard estimated.
He believes that “transport electrification will attract almost all people”. We are with or we are against. We think it will take time, or we think it won’t. But you rarely meet someone who has no say in it. “
As a sign of the interest shown by Ottawa and Quebec in developing the company, Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau and Francois Legault met for the first time in person since the pandemic, last March, to announce funding for the Lyon Electric Battery Factory project.
“To see society in general follow suit makes me very proud,” he admits. It not only makes me proud to see that our business is working for economic purposes, but also for the environment, and the planet. “
Promote “Made in Canada”
The Quebec entrepreneur doesn’t hide it: He wants a “Canada Purchase Act” and requires federal and provincial governments to change their bidding criteria in terms of transportation in order to prioritize local buying. “It’s definitely one of our priorities,” says the man who will continue to make it his hobby next year.
He did a lot in the United States. If you look at Asia and Europe, it also happens. So there is no good reason why we should not do the same. Indeed, if Canada does not follow suit, it is even against Canadian companies”, believes Mr Bedard, determined to defend the local economy.
Watch the video
“Food trailblazer. Passionate troublemaker. Coffee fanatic. General analyst. Certified creator. Lifelong music expert. Alcohol specialist.”