No, General Motors hasn’t snatched back its mothballed Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant and restarted production of the Chevrolet Cruze. Clearly, those angry letters from yours truly fell on deaf ears.
Instead, the plant’s new owner, Lordstown Motors, will reveal the model it hopes to build at the former GM site at this summer’s Detroit auto show. Before homegrown electric pickups can roll out of the plant, however, Lordstown first needs cash.
That’s where the feds come in.
As reported by Reuters Wednesday, the fledgling automaker is pursuing a $200 million loan from the U.S. Energy Department to cover retooling costs.
That tidbit comes straight from Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns, who met with Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette earlier this week. The bag of cash Burns hopes to tap — the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program — hasn’t doled out funds since 2011.
“We think we are worthy of government help. We don’t want a handout — we want a loan,” Burns said. “It’s just going to be more jobs faster if we get it. We are viable without it.”
The vehicle Lordstown aims to build is an EV pickup called Endurance; the automaker expects to have a drivable example on hand when the North American International Auto Show kicks off in early June. Lordstown is just one automaker seeking to fill the still-hazy demand for an emissions-free truck, and competition is fierce. Ford aims to launch its electric F-150 by the end of next year; GM has countered with the GMC Hummer EV teased this morning. Not to be outdone, Tesla has its own upcoming EV-with-a-bed.
Meanwhile, Michigan-based Rivian, now flush with Amazon and Ford cash, expects to start production of its R1T pickup before the end of the year. Lordstown Motors is no Rivian — it’s starting almost from scratch.
That said, the startup has high hopes to turn the shuttered GM plant, which it bought late last year for $20 million, into a going concern.
“It’s cool to bring something back to life,” said Burns, who added that the Energy Department loan isn’t the only source of funding available to the automaker. Additional investment is being sought, and Lordstown is currently in “advanced talks” with a large investor, the CEO stated.
[Image: Lordstown Motors]