The defunct General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio has a new lease on life. Lordstown Motors Corp, which is 10% owned by Workhorse Group Inc, bought the plant and is raising capital. The company wants to start building electric pickups in the space by this time next year.
The plant has been closed since March and remains sore point for GM and its workers, so the fact that it will once again produce vehicles was good news.
“LMC’s plan to launch the Endurance electric pickup has the potential to create a significant number of jobs and help the Lordstown area grow into a manufacturing hub for electrification.”
The company has been working on the engineering of the new truck called Endurance and hired Rich Schmidt, a former director of manufacturing at Tesla Inc, as chief production officer.
Lordstown Chief Executive Steve Burns, a former Workhorse CEO, said the company has been working on engineering the new truck for the last six months but acknowledged the timetable is “aggressive.” However, he said the company has the advantage that the Ohio plant is “fully intact, still warm.”
Burns hopes to have pre-production prototypes coming of the assembly line by April and start production by November 2020 with 400 hourly workers to start.
“When you live in a factory area and the factory closes, there is a lot of pain there. This should be the electric epicenter of the Midwest if you do it right.”
GM last month said it plans an electric battery cell plant near the Lordstown complex that could eventually employ 1,000 people. Sources have said the battery plant would be a joint venture, where the workers are represented by the UAW and earn in the range of $15 to $17 an hour.