Beleaguered and nearly kaput electric pickup truck maker Lordstown Motors achieved a milestone thought impossible by many even just a few months ago: production of its first saleable vehicles.
The first two iterations of its aptly named Endurance pickup rolled off the production line at the former General Motors plant now run by China’s Foxconn with Lordstown owning the plant for a period of time in between.
Lordstown plans to build a batch of 500 pickups at a slow and deliberate rate — the norm for production of a new vehicle — to ensure the process is correct.
“We will continue to build at a slow rate as we address remaining part pedigree and part availability issues. We expect to increase the speed of production into November and December,” said Edward Hightower, Lordstown CEO and president. “Our homologation and certification processes are proceeding as planned.”
Slow and steady
The company expects the third pickup of the batch to be completed shortly. The company confirmed it will begin sales in the fourth quarter, subject to full homologation testing and required certification from regulators.
The company says its FMVSS crash testing has been completed successfully, and all Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board applications have been submitted. But the company plans to continue to “accumulate test miles on the vehicles, finalize other certifications, and complete software updates as we work to ensure the best experience for our customers.” intrigue
The company plans to build and deliver about 50 pickups by the end of 2022. However, as is often the case with embattled EV maker, going further is an economic proposition.
“We expect to deliver approximately 50 units to customers in 2022 and the remainder of the first batch in the first half of 2023, subject to raising sufficient capital,” the company said in a release. Officials noted the company is expected to end the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of approximately $195 million, while finishing 2022 with $110 million in cash and cash equivalents — a $75 million improvement over its initial projections.
Change is the constant
As has been the case with other startups in the segment, optimism was high when Lordstown sprung to life out the remnants of the former GM plant that last built Chevy Cruze compacts at the site before essentially giving the plant to Lordstown.
The company appeared to be on track, even getting former U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to come to the plant to celebrate its opening and the production of the first working vehicles in 2019. However, a series of setbacks ranging from the resignation to the company’s founder and first CEO to his replacement overstating how many orders the company had on its books.
These problems led to investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission and other governmental agencies and even more management turnover. Current CEO Hightower joined the company in July.
However, the arrival of Foxconn last year at this time may have been the turning point in the company’s fate. It purchased the company’s Ohio plant for $230 million, giving Lordstown some more capital and Foxconn an operating base to build not just the Endurance for Lordstown, but other vehicles down line, including — potentially — one for Apple.