Lordstown Motors CEO: Market for electric trucks bigger than thought
Now that he has the keys to the former GM Assembly Plant, Lordstown Motors Corporation CEO Steve Burns says he expects to see increased investment in plans to build electric pickup trucks there.
Flanked by his management team and local elected officials, Burns held a news conference from the plant on Thursday to talk about what he hopes the future holds for his company.
GM sold the plant to LMC for a reported $20 million after ending the production of the Chevy Cruze there earlier this year.
Calling the plant “a gem of a building,” Burns talked about how rare it is for a startup company like his to get a “fully stocked” plant that was kept up to date with state-of-the-art machines, railroad and truck access.
“Because of the excitement of our product and the plant's closeness to Detroit, we could attract a world-class team,” said Burns, who added that they want to start making the trucks as soon as possible. “It is a great jumping-off point because we want to get to market in a hurry.”
LMC Chief Engineer Darren Post, who worked on the Chevy Cavalier for GM, called the truck's design revolutionary, having individual electric motors on each of the four wheels, adding to the durability and reducing maintenance.
Burns says the truck's simplicity and price makes it ideal for fleet use. With no big V-8 engine, the “Endurance” will have more space up front for storage. The price tag of the "Endurance" is expected to be $50,000.
CEO Burns says the company, headquartered in Lordstown, is getting a lot of attention because the “Endurance” will be the least expensive, greenest, and safest vehicle of its kind.
“We won't have to advertise too much,” said Burns. “It's so simple and cost-effective to make. The only moving parts are wheels.”
The company already has pre-orders for the truck, according to Burns. “The market for this is bigger than we thought. I don't think we'll be able to make it quick enough.” Burns says the plan is to diversify and make additional vehicles in Lordstown.
When Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill made a comment about how much he likes the name “Lordstown Motors,” Burns said the name “Lordstown” will be on the tailgate of every truck they make.
The company expects to start with 400 workers. When asked if they'll be UAW members, Burns said that's his intention. He plans to meet with local UAW leadership.
LMC is still raising the expected $500 million in needed financing and has retained a Cleveland-based investment firm to help, according to Burns.