Lordstown Motors (LM) is still in the process of retooling the Lordstown, Ohio, manufacturing plant to build its upcoming Endurance electric pickup truck, but that didn't stop CEO Steve Burns from discussing his plans and expectations beyond the truck's release. According to a new report from the Detroit Free Press, Burns hopes to eventually hire 4,000 to 5,000 workers and says he believes the plant could eventually produce 600,000 vehicles a year when running at optimal capacity in the future.
Right now, LM employs about 70 people and has produced zero trucks. All 70 employees are engineers who work at two locations. About 20 work in a design lab in Dearborn, Mich., and the other 50 work at the plant, as the machinery is switched from Chevrolet Cruze configurations to an Endurance setup.
The plant also requires two entirely new manufacturing sections to build the in-hub motors and the battery packs in-house. LM is working with Elaphe Propulsion Technologies on the Endurance in-wheel motor and will be buying battery cells from an unreleased "national cell maker."
LM's expected timeline for the Endurance was slightly altered due to the spread of the coronavirus and the COVID-19 pandemic it caused. The Endurance will be virtually unveiled this summer, possibly in June, and LM hopes to start customer deliveries in the first months of 2021. The delays have created more pressure to get the plant in order as soon as possible. According to the Detroit Free Press, LM must build at least 30 pre-production prototypes by the end of December 2020. Once those are completed and the Endurance is approved for production, LM will begin to expand its workforce.
"The worker bees, the assembly crew, that hiring comes closer to the production," Burns told Detroit Free Press. "We said 400 initially, so now it’ll be 600 due to building the battery packs and the in-wheel motor line."
Burns says he has taken more than 1,000 orders for the Endurance and hopes to build approximately 20,000 units in the first year. And the CEO is confident that's just the start. He also plans to configure the manufacturing facility in a way that would make it simple to add new models such as a midsize pickup truck and an SUV in the future. In his vision, he sees the plant working more efficiently than when it was under the ownership of General Motors.
"That plant was putting out more than 400,000 Cruzes a year," Burns said. "We think, because our vehicle is simpler to make, with only four moving parts, we think that plant is capable of putting out 600,000 vehicles a year."
Read more about LM's plans and estimates for the future on the Detroit Free Press.