fbpx

Twitter You Tube Facebook Autobodynews Linked In

Friday, 22 May 2020 22:58

GM’s Former Plant in Lordstown, OH, Will Return to Mass Vehicle Production, Thousands of Jobs

Written by Jamie LaReau, Detroit Free Press
Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns inside the former GM Lordstown Assembly plant, which his company purchased and is retooling to make the all-electric Endurance pickup truck.  Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns inside the former GM Lordstown Assembly plant, which his company purchased and is retooling to make the all-electric Endurance pickup truck.  Courtesy Lordstown Motors

Index

Lordstown Motors presently employs about 70 people, nearly all engineers, some of whom were engineers there when GM owned the plant, Burns said.

 

Twenty of those engineers work in a secret design studio the company has in Dearborn, MI, making clay modelings of the future vehicles.

 

The other 50 engineers are in the plant directing the change-over of the tooling needed to make the Endurance instead of the Cruze, Burns said. They are scrambling because, after the late June reveal of the Endurance, Lordstown Motors has to produce 30 pre-production vehicles by December.

 

"We’re six months away from that so that is a push," Burns said. "The Endurance is just our first vehicle. The architecture is easy to change for a midsize pickup or an SUV, so we’re trying to accommodate multiple vehicles besides the Endurance" in the future.

 

The 50 engineers are also designing the production lines to build battery packs and in-wheel motors, both of which will be built in-house along with the vehicle body, Burns said.

 

On May 12, Lordstown Motors licensed with Elaphe Propulsion Technologies to make the Model L-1500 Endurance In-Wheel Motor, for the pre-production vehicles expected to be produced at the Lordstown Motors complex in the next six months.

 

After that, some time next year, Lordstown Motors will start hiring for assembly workers.

 

"The worker bees, the assembly crew, that hiring comes closer to the production," Burns said. "We said 400 initially, so now it’ll be 600 due to building the battery packs and the in-wheel motor line."
 
Burns said he would allow the UAW to organize if the workers chose to have a union. The jobs have been reported to pay about $17 an hour, a few dollars less than what a new line worker at the Detroit Three is paid per hour. Burns would not confirm a figure other than to say, “We expect to be competitive with pay compared to other automakers.”

 

Burns said Lordstown Motors is making its motors and battery packs in-house because it has no other choice.

 

"There aren’t readily available battery-pack makers and in-wheel motor factories," Burns said. "When you’re an electric vehicle maker, the battery pack is a super important part and so you want to keep those in-house if you can for controlling cost, quality and supply.”

 

Meanwhile, GM is not done with Lordstown after all. 

 

In December, GM said it formed a joint venture with LG Chem to make battery cells. The venture is called Ultium Cells LLC.  

 

The Ultium Cell's investment is more than $2 billion to build a plant adjacent to the Lordstown Motors' facility. When it's completed in the first quarter of 2022, it will create more than 1,100 jobs, Flores said.


Read 999 times