© 2024 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

How COVID-19 Is Affecting Lordstown And Its Cincinnati Owner

Orders for electric trucks are still coming in but the owner of the Lordstown Motors says COVID-19 has slowed the target production schedule.
Orders for electric trucks are still coming in but the owner of the Lordstown Motors says COVID-19 has slowed the target production schedule.

Manufacturing is one of the first sectors scheduled to open back up in Ohio and it can't come soon enough for the Cincinnati owner of Lordstown Motors, who says the company will begin production of the world's first fully electric pickup truck in January 2021. This is a delay from the original production date in the fall of 2020.

Owner Steve Burns, who has a history of developing electric vehicles and using them in conjunction with drones, says a lot will depend on the suppliers.

On Lordstownmotors.com, Burns says, "Like most companies, the pandemic has caused us to tweak our plans. However, it has also dramatically strengthened our conviction and enthusiasm to bring the 'Endurance' to market as soon as humanly possible."

He continues, "Most of our staff has been working from home, essential maintenance is still happening at the plant, and our design engineers continue testing and fine-tuning the technology that will power the Lordstown Endurance electric pickup truck."


With stay-at-home orders in place, Burns says air quality has dramatically improved. "The air quality satellite images that are showing the results of having less tailpipe emissions are staggering," he says. "Anyone that ever doubted that our air quality could be cleaned up dramatically by eliminating tailpipe emissions should now be cheering for the advent of vehicle electrocution, especially truck electrification."

The market seems to be there. When interviewing Burns in December 2019 he said, "We commissioned a large accounting firm to validate the market and it's actually bigger than we thought." Even before he bought the six-million-square-foot former GM plant on 700 acres he had $300 million worth of orders for electric pickups.

Burns says even during the pandemic orders have continued to come in.

He'll unveil the fleet truck called "Endurance" sometime in early summer, mostly likely in a virtual reveal from the Youngstown plant. This after the Detroit Auto Show was cancelled because of COVID-19.

Copyright 2021 91.7 WVXU. To see more, visit 91.7 WVXU.

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.