by Todd DeFeo
Lordstown Motors plans to use a $200 million U.S. Department of Energy loan to update a former General Motors plant in Northeast Ohio.
The company intends to hire as many as 400 workers by the end of this year and start production of electric-powered pickup trucks.
General Motors’ decision to shutter the Lordstown facility drew condemnation from a spate of officials, including President Donald Trump. Lordstown Motors purchased the plant in November.
“Our community in Northeast Ohio has a long auto-manufacturing history,” U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, who recently met with Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns, said in a news release. “I’m pleased that Lordstown Motors understands our community’s expertise and skills in this field and plans to put us back to work doing what we do the best – building award-winning vehicles.”
Lordstown Motors is applying for a $200 million Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan through the energy department. The loan program supports the manufacturing and engineering of fuel-efficient, advanced technology vehicles and related components.
“We think we are worthy of government help,” Reuters quoted Burns as saying in an interview. “We don’t want a handout – we want a loan. It’s just going to be more jobs faster if we get it. We are viable without it.”
Lordstown plans to debut its electric pickup truck during June’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, The Detroit News reported.
Earlier this month, a bipartisan group of 10 members of the U.S. House and U.S. Senate from Ohio, including Ryan, penned a letter to Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette in support of the loan application.
“Northeast Ohio saw its economy suffer when General Motors announced in October that it was permanently closing its Lordstown Assembly Plant,” they wrote. “As a result, thousands of workers were forced to move, retire, or obtain other jobs, dealing a severe blow to the regional economy.”
The lawmakers called it a “high priority” to support Lordstown Motors “so that it will be successful and provide high-paying job opportunities in the region.”
Separately, General Motors selected a 160-acre site near Lordstown for a new battery cell assembly plant. The company could receive performance-based tax subsidies from JobsOhio, which receives funding from liquor sales revenue.
Last April, Ryan jumped in the race for president and cited the closure of the Lordstown plant as one reason for running. He has since abandoned his bid for The White House.
“I’m heartened that Lordstown Motors will be providing high wages to Ohio workers, and I will do everything I can to help them secure an ATVM loan and keep moving this project forward,” Ryan said.
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Todd DeFeo is a contributor the The Center Square.