It has been a long road for Lordstown Motors founder and CEO Steve Burns to arrive at this point of being ready to produce his electric pickup truck, dubbed the Endurance. The good news is that he arrives at this critical juncture with a large number of orders.
"Our initial foray is into fleets, and we have pre-sold 100,000 of these vehicles to various fleets across America — really a big appetite," Burns told Yahoo Finance Live. "You've got a fleet using a 17-mile per gallon pickup truck for the last 30 years and we come out with one that gets the equivalent of 75 miles per gallon. There is a lot of demand and excitement about it."
Unveiled in June 2020, the Endurance is a fully electric pickup truck that gets about 250 miles of range on a single charge. The truck's major selling point is that it is powered by four electric hub motors, with each wheel having a motor. That will help the Endurance — which starts at about $52,000 — to deliver varying amounts of torque to each wheel. Torque is an important factor in selling pickup trucks as it is a key linchpin in hauling heavy loads.
Burns said production for the Endurance will begin in September. That will make the Endurance the first all electric pickup truck on the market — Ford isn't expected to begin producing its all-electric F150 pickup until 2022. The electric F-150 is seen as the primary competitor to the Endurance out of the gate.
The production start of the Endurance will mark the newest in a series of impressive developments for Burns.
The first one is the build out of a former GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio, where the Chevy Cruze was once made. Lordstown Motors purchased the 6.2 million-square-foot plant from cost-cutting GM in 2019. It has since been retrofitted to make electric vehicles, with a goal of making 20,000 units annually out of the block. Burns has said the plant could ultimately churn out 600,000 units annually. Burns said he has hired 500 employees or so, mostly in engineering, to support the business.
"Here the workforce that will be on the line making these vehicles a lot of them will be former GM folks. The culture around a 100-mile radius of this plant, there is three generations of making cars. So we have a lot of talent around here, and we want to utilize that," Burns said.
Meanwhile, the company's other feat is simply being public so close to the start of production.
Lordstown Motors debuted on the Nasdaq on Oct. 26 after combining with a SPAC. The company received about $675 million in funding from the combination to support its growth ambitions. Shares finished their first day of trading up roughly 4%. The stock is up another 5.5% since then.
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