Monday, November 29, 2021

Lordstown Motors delays Endurance EV pickup after announcing Foxconn deal

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Cash-strapped EV startup Lordstown Motors is delaying the launch of its electric pickup truck, the Endurance, one day after announcing the sale of its Ohio factory to iPhone assembler Foxconn.

Lordstown Motors said Thursday that it now plans to ship the Endurance in the third quarter of 2022, not the second as previously targeted, because of supply chain shortages. It announced a third-quarter loss of $96 million and said it will finish the year with just $150 million to $180 million in cash — including a $100 million payment from Foxconn toward the purchase of the factory. Lordstown Motors is also still building pre-production versions of the truck at the Ohio factory despite saying as recently as August that it would be making production-level trucks in September.

In addition, the startup distanced itself from the in-wheel motor technology that it has been promoting since its inception, as it now plans to try to design additional vehicles based on Foxconn’s own EV platform. While the Endurance will still use the hub motors, new CEO Daniel Ninivaggi said Thursday that “not every vehicle needs hub motors, and we’ll weigh the tradeoffs.”

In the span of just two years, Lordstown Motors has gone from a new startup that won the support of the Trump administration, to a public company that raised hundreds of millions of dollars on claims it would release the first EV pickup truck, to facing allegations of fraud and two government investigations. It has recently turned over its entire leadership team (much like Workhorse, the EV startup that Lordstown Motors was essentially birthed from) and has sold its factory to Foxconn to stay alive.

Once the sale closes in April 2022, Lordstown Motors will only occupy 30,000 of the 6.2 million square feet available at the factory it once owned, while other electric vehicle startups like Fisker Inc. come in to work with Foxconn on their own EVs.

Ninivaggi, who recently finished a seven-year run on the board of Hertz, emphasized on a conference call Thursday that Foxconn is “only part of the solution.”

“We realize that our company is not just an appendage to Foxconn,” he said. “We must execute, and execute better, and deliver the Endurance truck.”

He also thanked “all the shareholders who have hung in there with us” and acknowledged the startup that beat Lordstown Motors (and everybody else) to market with an electric pickup truck: Rivian.

“It’s not easy; we see the news every day, with $100 billion market cap for Rivian. And we know we have a long way to go, but we feel like we have a path and a strong partner,” he said.



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