WARREN, Ohio (WYTV) – Not long after the GM Lordstown plant closed, they started talking about building electric trucks there. The man behind Lordstown Motors Corporation, the company planning to buy the plant, talked to us ahead of a panel discussion in Warren.
Steve Burns, CEO of Lordstown Motors, sat on the stage of Warren’s Packard Music Hall Tuesday night as part of a panel discussion on the future of energy-efficient vehicles.
“Our intent is to come here and build electric pick-up trucks in this region,” he said. “Our intent is to purchase the Lordstown plant from GM but I think you can appreciate the complexities of all the things going on there.”
Before the panel discussion, Burns talked to us about his plans to build electric pick-up trucks, which he plans to sell as fleet vehicles.
“The Lordstown truck, the first vehicle we make, will be the first electric full-size pick-up truck in the country, and I suspect the world,” he said.
GM reportedly wants to make batteries for electric vehicles in Lordstown as well.
“They want to build a battery plant here,” Burns said. “We certainly want to build a battery plant here as well.”
As far as the ongoing contract negotiations between the United Auto Workers and GM, Burns said he doesn’t know much more about what’s going on than any of us.
“We intend to use union labor and the union has an agreement with GM.”
Burns once worked at the Cincinnati-based Workhorse, which primarily makes delivery trucks and is hoping to get a contract from the Postal Service.
“When and if Workhorse wins the post office, I certainly want to bid with them to try to build it for Workhorse here,” he said.
Burns said the first pick-up will be a full crew cab, which he compared to Ford’s popular F-150.
“We will have better traction because we have true four-wheel drive. We expect it to have better safety in a frontal crash because we don’t have an engine there. So we have a lot of crush zone and we expect it to get about 75 miles a gallon equivalent when you count the price of the gasoline.”
Burns envisions the Lordstown area becoming an eco-center for electric vehicle production. He wants the batteries made here, the motors made here, the wiring harnesses — everything. He wants all of it done somewhere in the surrounding area.
Burns said Lordstown Motors is on course to start production at the end of next year.