Another electric-vehicle start-up is headed for the public markets: Quebec-based Lion Electric Company, a maker of electric trucks and school buses, said that it will go public via a merger with special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Northern Genesis Acquisition (NYSE:NGA).

Lion, established in 2008, is a small-scale manufacturer of medium- and heavy-duty electric vehicles for urban use. The company claims to have over 300 vehicles on the road now, mostly school buses, with more than 6 million miles driven in total. 

The deal between Lion and Northern Genesis follows the template of other recent SPAC merger deals with electric-vehicle makers, including the deal that took electric big-rig start-up Nikola (NASDAQ:NKLA) public in June. 

A parked Lion electric school bus, with a charging cable attached.

Lion Electric makes several versions of its electric school bus, including one optimized for special needs students. Image source: The Lion Electric Company.

As with the Nikola deal, the Lion deal includes a so-called PIPE (private investment of public equity) of $200 million that will be contributed by outside investors as the company goes public. In addition, the merged company is expected to receive about $320 million in cash currently held in trust by Northern Genesis, for a total of about $500 million after fees and expenses. 

The post-merger company will retain the Lion name and will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker "LEV," the companies said. The deal values the post-merger Lion at $1.9 billion. It's expected to close in the first quarter of 2021.

Lion said that it plans to use the proceeds to build a vehicle-manufacturing plant in the United States and a new battery factory (likely in Canada), and to continue research and development related to battery systems. 

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