Vice President Mike Pence’s comments on stage earlier had shifted to the stump, highlighting the President Donald Trump administration’s successes on replacing NAFTA with the USMCA, low unemployment rates for Blacks and its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Pence later said he wants “Lordstown Motors to be part of the great American comeback” and reflected on the plant’s 53-year history which put out “millions” of vehicles like the Chevrolet Impala and Cavalier.
“When it closed in March 2019 it was heartbreaking for this community,” he said. “That’s why, as you all know, President Donald Trump sprang into action.
“On May 8, the president was delighted to get the call — what he called ‘great news for Ohio’ — when Steve Burns bought this building and set into motion the plans to make Lordstown Motors.”
Pence ended his remarks at about 1:12 p.m. and left the stage.
The Endurance was unveiled in a drive-by around the seating area and media pit.
When the vehicle pulled up on stage, Vice President Mike Pence stepped out of the passenger seat.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Lordstown Endurance,” Pence said. “Today is a new beginning for Lordstown and it’s a new day for leadership in electric vehicles in the United States.”
U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouilette welcomed attendees to “Voltage Valley,” which Lordstown Motors has worked to rebrand, from the Valley’s previous “Rust Belt” moniker.
Brouilette said the U.S. relies on China for about 80 percent of the rare earth minerals used in making electric vehicles and other electronic devices and the energy department is working on “addressing vulnerabilities” in the supply chain to ensure Lordstown Motors has the materials it needs to build.
The event has receded to a lull and house music has come back on. Vice President Pence was expected to appear about this time but proceedings have paused.
Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns estimated the first year of the Endurance’s production has already been pre-sold through commercial fleet preorders. He expects the Hallock Young Road plant will be able to put out about 600,000 vehicles a year, exceeding GM’s volume during the Chevy Cruze era.
He also talked about the vehicle’s hub motor design, which ensures the pickup’s weight is distributed to its four corners.
“It’s a pickup truck that handles like a sports car,” he said. “Reinvention at the wrong time — if you’re too late or too early it doesn’t work. We’re hitting it at the exact right time.
“Suddenly, there’s four or five companies going to come out with an electric pickup truck in the next several years. We’re going to beat every one of them to market.”
Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns takes the stage.
“The plant is what drew us here,” he said, reflecting on GM’s March 2019 closure of the 6.2-million-square-foot facility. “GM was exiting the building but they still wanted to make cars.
“We asked: ‘Could you leave it intact? Still warm from when it made its last Cruze? That was a big ask, but they did it.”
Burns promises the truck will be unveiled “soon.”
He added its economy is similar to a combustion vehicle that gets 75 miles per gallon.
Tom Humphries, CEO of the Youngstown-Warren Area Chamber of Commerce, said today’s event — and Vice President Mike Pence’s appearance — gives the venture some tangibility and presence previously unseen in the Valley.
“Now all the naysayers that say, ‘Oh this is not going to happen’ — when you get the Vice President of the United States to drop in … you need that kind of presence and support.
“I think that’s a really great sign for the opportunity here.”
State Rep. Gil Blair of Niles, D-63rd, said the Endurance — which Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns has said will head into production next year — is “good news.”
“We certainly hope we can get back some of the families we lost [when the Lordstown Assembly Complex was shuttered],” he said.
“We still have thousands of families that have left this area and are in Michigan, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and many of those folks would like to be back here and working,” Blair added. “We’re still working to create those bridges and hopefully we can do that.”
Sam Covelli, owner of Covelli Enterprises and vice chairman of the Western Reserve Port Authority, said he’s eager to see the Endurance’s sales potential.
“You don’t know where the potential of this could go — it could be huge and it would be great for our area,” he said.
“This could be something for the whole country. … You want it to sell. It could be a great seller and that’s what you’re hoping for.”
LORDSTOWN — The stage is set for the official unveiling of Lordstown Motors Corp.’s all-electric Endurance pickup truck, set to begin at noon.
Vice President Mike Pence is expected to deliver remarks after touring the facility today.
The livestream of the reveal event, which you can watch above and on Lordstown Motors’ YouTube channel, is set to being at noon. We’ll provide live updates here as the day progresses.
Because of schedule changes, Pence’s tour of the Lordstown Motors plant was not available to media Thursday. Media ride-alongs inside the vehicle also were canceled due to health department regulations on sanitization.
Following remarks from Pence and, presumably, Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns, the Endurance will be shown in an outdoor demonstration.
Here’s what we know about the vehicle already, based on specification sheets provided by Lordstown Motors Corp.
LORDSTOWN — Lordstown Motors Corp.'s official unveiling of the all-electric Endurance pickup truck is set to begin at noon today. Watch a livestream of the event above, or watch the unveiling on Lordstown Motors' YouTube channel.