Lordstown Motor Company is an electric vehicle startup founded by former Workhorse CEO Steve Burns. The company is planning on building its first vehicle, the battery-electric Endurance pickup, at Lordstown Assembly.
According to Burns, Lordstown Motor Company will hire around 400 UAW workers starting next fall and will begin production of the Endurance by the end of 2020. Burns also said the unionized hourly workers will likely earn around $31 an hour – the top UAW wage.
Burns has already begun hiring the Lordstown Motor Company leadership team as well. Rich Schmidt, the former director of manufacturing at Tesla, was recently hired on as chief production officer for the new startup.
“We are committed to the people of Lordstown, we will locate our headquarters in the Lordstown plant, and we plan to build the Endurance pickup truck utilizing experienced workers who helped produce millions of vehicles in this very same plant,” Burns said in a statement.
GM released a statement this week saying it 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.”
GM also plans on building a new battery cell production plant in the Lordstown/Mahoning Valley area as part of a joint-venture operation with another, yet-to-be-named company. The battery plant is expected to bring about 1,000 UAW jobs to the area.
“Lordstown Motors, along with GM’s planned battery factory in the area and other startups, are positioning Northeast Ohio as a hub for technology, which completely reshapes the future trajectory of the whole Mahoning Valley,” Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel said in a prepared statement. “Think of being in the epicenter of EV technology. We must take charge of our future.”
On Thursday, a UAW spokesperson told The New York Times the union is “committed to making sure there are quality and good-paying jobs” in the Lordstown area, but did not comment specifically on the Lordstown Motor Company acquisition. The startup took control of the plant on Thursday.
The Endurance pickup will be aimed at fleet buyers, with Burns saying he already has around 6,000 orders for the truck from 19 different companies. The truck follows in the footsteps of the Workhorse W15, which debuted as a working prototype last year. The W15 featured an electric powertrain and a 1.5-liter three-cylinder BMW engine as a range extender. Workhorse owns a 10-percent stake in Lordstown Motor Company and will license its electric drivetrain tech to the company for the Endurance.
The UAW had previously hoped to keep Lordstown Assembly open under the new national agreement with GM, but was only able to win new product allocation at Detroit-Hamtramck. Instead, GM told the union it would build the new battery plant in the Lordstown area and sell the Lordstown Assembly plant to Lordstown Motor Company. LMC could not complete its acquisition of the plant until the UAW contract had been ratified.