Lordstown Motors launches production of electric vans
Lordstown Motors, the Ohio EV startup that seeks to build electric pickup trucks and utility vehicles in a former General Motors assembly plant, has started production of its trucks at the plant.
Lordstown acquired the plant from GM but has since sold it to manufacturing titan Foxconn, which is looking to break into the electric vehicle sector.
The company began building its Endurance full-size pickup truck at a time when Ford dramatically increased prices for its electric F-150 Lightning. Lordstown says it has completed the necessary crash tests and submitted the required paperwork for the EPA and California Air Resources Board certifications it will need to sell the trucks.
This first batch of trucks is expected to include 500 vehicles, 50 of which are expected to reach customers this year. The rest will be delivered in the first half of 2023.
“We will continue to build at a slow pace as we work out pedigree and availability issues for the remaining parts. We plan to ramp up production speed in November and December,” said Edward Hightower, CEO and President of Lordstown. “Our approval and certification processes are proceeding as planned.”
There’s an asterisk next to the delivery plans for the remaining 450 pickups, and it’s apparently cash flow. Lordstown says it will proceed with building these trucks, depending on its success in raising additional capital. Current joint venture partner Foxconn is a candidate to provide the money.
While building vehicles and delivering them to customers is a major step forward, skeptics fear it won’t be enough to turn the company’s financial situation around. “I don’t think we’ve seen evidence that Lordstown has solved its fundamental problem,” Motley Fool auto industry analyst Travis Hoium observed in a report on Lordstown’s announcement. “The company must sell enough vehicles to cover operating costs, and even selling 500 vehicles will not be enough,” he said. “Lordstown has an interesting product, but it doesn’t have the scale of many of its competitors.”
The Lordstown Endurance pickup has some interesting technical differences from the Ford F-150 Lightning, Rivian R1T and upcoming Chevrolet Silverado. It’s powered by four individual wheel motors that each spin its own wheel directly, so there are no driveshafts or axles.
“Working in the battery department over the past few months, we’ve made incredible progress, refining and improving our processes so we can meet production,” said battery manufacturing engineer Chad Powell in a video posted on the company’s website. Hopefully, Powell and his colleagues will have the opportunity to exploit these improvements for full mass production in the future.