Lordstown Motors has delivered the first small batch of electric Endurance pickups this week, with plans to complete several dozen by the end of the year.
The company plans to build an initial batch of 500 trucks through the first half of 2023, but will require additional capital to assemble more.
The factory is now owned and operated by Taiwan's Foxconn, which plans to produce several EVs at the site in the coming years.
The first examples of the Lordstown Endurance electric pickups left the factory today, after several years of delays, controversy, and finally a rescue by Taiwan's Hon Hai Technology Group, better known as Foxconn. The company said the pickups have achieved certification from the EPA and California Air Resources Board, opening the door to commercial sales, with the first of the initial batch of 500 trucks headed to customers.
The milestone comes just months after Foxconn inked an operating agreement with Lordstown to run the Ohio factory, formerly a General Motors assembly plant, providing the much needed cash to get the truck the last few steps into production while also establishing its own EV manufacturing footprint stateside.
"The Endurance will provide benefits to customers that use their vehicles for work. It optimizes key attributes of traction and maneuverability—with our in-wheel hub motors—safety, with our five-star crash performance, and value in the segment,” said Edward Hightower, Lordstown CEO and president.
However, the deliveries of the first commercial examples do not signal a wider launch. Lordstown plans to complete just 50 trucks this year, and the rest of the first batch of 500 in the first half of 2023. What will come beyond these two batches of 50 and 450, however, is "subject to raising sufficient capital."
That's no small asterisk, and it puts the spotlight back on Lordstown's finances as it seeks more capital and more buyers for the truck. "We will continue to build at a slow rate as we address remaining part pedigree and part availability issues. We expect to increase the speed of production into November and December," Hightower said earlier this fall.
Lordstown is also dealing with rising material prices, having noted in recent weeks that its bill of materials cost (BOM) is actually higher than the planned selling price of the truck.
Earlier in November Foxconn made an additional investment of up to $170 million, gaining more share of the company in the process, including all of its preferred stock as well as 18.3% of its common stock.
This infusion of cash is expected to keep Endurance production running for a few more months, but Lordstown says it is looking for "one or two OEM partners to help scale the Endurance." The investment will also be used to fund the design and development of a new EV along with Foxconn.
So the truck's longer-term future is far from assured, especially at a time when far larger automakers continue to roll out new customer models.
"While we have more work to do, our entire team cannot wait to get the vehicle in the hands of our customers. We are also extremely excited by the additional investment and expanding relationship with Foxconn and the opportunities it provides beyond our first vehicle," Hightower said earlier this month.