Ohio senators optimistic about future production at ‘Lordstown Motors Corp.’

Local News

Sen. Mike Rulli called the new company the "Tesla of the Midwest" after seeing some of its tech planned for Lordstown

CINCINNATI, Ohio (WYTV) – Ever since President Donald Trump’s tweets in early May, the name Workhorse has been associated with the company looking to take over the now-closed General Motors Lordstown plant.

But all along, we were told that Workhorse was not the name, that it was actually a third-party company using Workhorse’s technology and its people.

On Friday, we learned that this third-party company has a name, it’ll be called “Lordstown Motors Corp.”

In an interview with The Detroit News, Steve Burns — the man behind Lordstown Motors — said he’s pushing to raise $300 million to repurpose the Lordstown plant to build electric commercial pick-ups and, hopefully, delivery trucks for the United States Postal Service.

Burns said he was impressed with the Lordstown facility and has received support from Workhorse and GM.

More optimism was added on Friday to the plan for electric vehicles in Lordstown after state Senators Sean O’Brien and Mike Rulli, from the Youngstown area, visited the Workhorse operation in Cincinnati.

After that meeting with Workhorse CEO Duane Hughes and Burns, Rulli said he now believes Lordstown Motors has the ability and the technology to reopen the Lordstown plant.

The senators checked out a Workhorse concept truck and delivery vehicle, the kind USPS may contract for its use.

“The pick up on that truck is incredible. The braking, I mean, these trucks are incredible,” Rulli said.

“They indicated that they have financing in place and were moving forward on receiving more financing,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien and Rulli learned that along with the USPS contract, Lordstown Motors is also negotiating with postal services in the United Kingdom and Australia to make electric vehicles for them as well.

But even if they don’t get the contracts, the company still plans to build its electric vehicles at Lordstown. It has a backlog of 6,000 vehicles that would create about 400 jobs.

Lordstown Motors also plans to work with the United Auto Workers union to pay UAW wages.

“Now, you could possibly have a million units on the table here, you could possibly have three shifts going around the clock on the table here. So that needs to be done with the UAW’s workforce because they’re the only ones, to be honest with you, that has the skill to make something like that actually happen,” Rulli said.

“Not only could they be building these fleets that they already have pre-orders for, not only is it possible that the post office is here, but they’re talking about making this their world headquarters in Lordstown, making the company’s world headquarters in Lordstown — employing engineers, research and development, a whole host of ancillary jobs that would be high paying, good jobs for the Valley,” O’Brien said.

Workhorse has already built 400 vehicles for the United Parcel Service. They said we should know something definitive by the end of the year. Some of it depends on negotiations between GM and the UAW, but they couldn’t have been more positive and optimistic that electric vehicles may be coming to Lordstown.

“The technology I saw here, these guys are the Tesla of the Midwest, I got to be honest with you. We have some hardcore, amazing engineering and technology going on here. Driving those vehicles today, I have no doubt that these people have the ability to make this happen,” Rulli said.

But, UAW Local 1112 shop chairman Dan Morgan doesn’t share the optimism of O’Brien and Rulli.

“It’s very difficult to follow all the lies with GM and this Workhorse dream. Our members are suffering every day and would just like to know the truth to what their future holds. One minute they are selling the plant, the other they say it needs to be determined at the negotiating table. We want product in Lordstown and deserve it,” he said.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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