Our personalities of the year 2021: Marc Bédard, CEO of Lion Electric

The electrification of transport is at the heart of economic recovery. In Quebec, Marc Bédard, CEO of electric city bus and truck manufacturer Lion, has been making his mark for some time now, but it was this year that his business really took off. From the first vehicles sold in 2016 to the IPO of his company last spring, the entrepreneur does not intend to stop there.

“2021 has been a very significant year,” says Mr. Bédard. His company located in Saint-Jérôme, in the Laurentians, took an important step last spring, moving from private to public status.

“May 7 was quite a day! »Confides the businessman. “Early in the morning, we announced the new plant in Illinois in the United States. After that, when the markets opened, the company’s shares began trading on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges. And at 4 p.m., we rang the bell indicating the closing of the stock exchange. But 15 minutes before, my daughter wrote to tell me that she had just given birth to her baby boy, when it was scheduled for a few days later. It all happened at the same time. I’m telling you… It was incredible, ”he drops moved.

A social issue

The ex-partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers gave up everything to found his electric bus company in 2008, already convinced of the need to make a shift. “At the beginning, we were almost the only ones with the pilgrim’s staff. Now, the question is no longer whether there will be an electrification of transport, it is to know at what rate this will be done, ”estimates Mr. Bédard.

“The electrification of transport will appeal to almost everyone in the population,” he believes. We are for or we are against. We think it will take time, or we think it won’t. But you rarely meet someone who doesn’t have an opinion on it. “

As a sign of the interest shown by Ottawa and Quebec in the development of the company, Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau and François Legault met for the first time in person since the pandemic, last March, to announce funding for the Lion electric battery plant project.

“To see that society in general is following suit, that makes me extremely proud,” he admits. It does not only make me proud to see that our business is running for economic purposes, but also for the environment, the planet. “

Promote “made in Canada”

The Quebec businessman does not hide it: he wants a “Buy Canada Act” and asks the federal and provincial governments to change their criteria for tendering in terms of transport in order to prioritize local purchasing. . “It is definitely one of our priorities,” says the man who will continue to make it his hobbyhorse in the coming year.

“It’s done a lot in the United States. If you look at Asia and Europe, that’s also happening. So there is no valid reason why we should not do the same. In fact, if Canada does not follow suit, it is even going against Canadian companies, ”believes Mr. Bédard, determined to defend the local economy.

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