General Motors has confirmed the sale of its shuttered Ohio plant to Lordstown Motors Corp (LMC), an electric truck startup connected to Workhorse Group.
The terms of the deal were not made public, but The General seemed pleased with the arrangement. “GM is committed to future investment and job growth in Ohio and we believe 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 automaker said.
Workhorse Group owns 10 percent of Lordstown Motors, the company formed specifically for the transaction. The two entities also share intellectual property related to electric drive systems. Workhorse is not in great financial shape at the moment, totaling just $6,000 of revenue during the latest quarter.
After securing the plant, Lordstown Motors is now looking for cash to convert the plant from making ICE-powered passenger cars to plug-in pickups. It claims it has the money to buy the plant and work on the new vehicle, but will need more funds to continue development, conduct crash and safety testing and get type approval.
“We are going to be fundraising for a while. We have to stand up an auto company,” Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns told Bloomberg. The new owner of the Ohio factory plans to build a model called Endurance, with fleet buyers expected to account for the majority of the customers.
The truck will feature four electric motors, one at each wheel, for AWD capability as well as outlets that enable owners to plug power tools. Until the Endurance truck goes into production, Workhorse Group may transfer 6,000 existing pre-orders for the W-15 plug-in hybrid truck prototype to the Ohio facility.
Workhorse Group may provide more work for the Lordstown plant if it wins a lucrative contract to build plug-in mail trucks for the U.S. Postal Service – but, obviously, there’s no guarantee that will happen.
If everything goes according to plan, the factory’s new owner plans to hire 400 employees next year via UAW and start production as early as the second half of 2020. The company will go after experienced workers who didn’t accept GM’s offer to move to one of its other facilities.