COLUMBUS — Lordstown Motors Corp. is seeking a state legislative carve-out that would allow the company to sell its electric vehicles directly to customers.
The legislation, to be introduced soon in both chambers by state Sen. Michael Rulli of Salem, R-33rd, and state Rep. Mike Loychik of Bazetta, R-63rd, would change an Ohio law that prohibits most direct vehicle sales, instead requiring sales to go through a dealership.
“Some of the legislation that’s been on the books for many years isn’t quite fitting with the economic models we are focusing on,” said Thomas Canepa, Lordstown Motors’ general counsel, during a media briefing this morning at the Ohio Statehouse. “We are a fleet-based company. All of our trucks are going to be sold in batches to fleets.”
Traditional car dealers make most of their profit in selling vehicle warranties and services, whereas fleet buyers tend to service their own vehicles, said Lordstown Motors spokesperson Chris Kerzich.
“In order to keep [total cost of ownership] low … we need the flexibility and the ability to sell directly to our customers,” he said.
The legislation would focus solely on Lordstown Motors, lawmakers said Wednesday, and wouldn’t affect any car dealerships in the state.
Rulli in a Wednesday release said the bill is intended to support the Ohio-made electric vehicle manufacturer.
“This is good government at work. It’s recognizing that EV sales are not like traditional car sales,” he said. “Lordstown Motors is investing hundreds of millions of dollars breathing new life into Lordstown. They intend to start by creating 1,500 jobs and this legislation will help them achieve that and much more.”
Loychik in the release said the legislation acknowledges that “one-size-fits-all regulation is rarely effective.”
“EVs are a different kind of vehicle requiring a different model,” he said. “This legislation acknowledges that we must create an agile regulatory environment that fosters manufacturing innovation. We can do that here with the additional benefit of supporting Ohio-grown manufacturing that will produce good-paying, quality jobs.”
In a promotional video shown during the briefing, Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns said the company expects to employ 1,500 workers by the time its first product, the all-electric Endurance pickup truck, heads into production in September.
The company has already landed more than 100,000 non-binding preorders for the vehicle, which will be fulfilled over the next couple years, Kerzich said.