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Lordstown Motors stops work on electric van to focus on pickup truck

Lordstown Motors has stopped working on an electric van and different future initiatives so as to purpose all assets at placing its first automobile, a pickup truck referred to as Endurance, into manufacturing later this yr. The startup previously announced in March that it was accelerating work on the van, however it has struggled since then, with CEO Steve Burns and CFO Julio Rodriguez resigning this week after an investigation into deceptive claims about preorders for the Endurance.

Burns beforehand billed the van as a “high-top” leisure automobile with up to 350 miles of vary. He stated that it might be the “first mass produced all-electric RV,” and that Lordstown Motors believed “there might be many industrial use circumstances for an electric van of this dimension and functionality.” However that can have to wait whereas the startup focuses on surviving.

“We do have a prototype van that’s been accomplished, and it shares quite a lot of commonized elements with the Endurance. It’ll probably be proven later in the summertime, however at this level, we’re at present targeted solely on the Endurance,” Lordstown Motors president Wealthy Schmidt stated throughout an Automotive Press Affiliation occasion on Tuesday.

Schmidt additionally stated {that a} collaboration with RV firm Tenting World is on maintain, which is meant to contain service facilities that will assist the van. “Once more we’re simply targeted at present on the Endurance truck. That’s our subsequent aim for the following three months, is to ensure that we hit our manufacturing targets and keep inside our budgets and drive ahead to getting the automobiles prepared for the market,” he stated.

Lordstown Motors interim CEO Angela Strand confirmed throughout the occasion that the startup nonetheless plans to begin restricted manufacturing of the Endurance in late September of this yr. However Schmidt confirmed Tuesday that Lordstown Motors solely has sufficient funding to make vehicles via Might 2022. That’s even if Lordstown Motors raised $675 million late final yr after it merged with a particular goal acquisition firm (SPAC) and have become a publicly traded firm.

Lordstown Motors stated in March in its annual report filed with the Securities and Alternate Fee (SEC) that it deliberate to reveal the electric van in June and begin manufacturing in late 2022. However Schmidt stated Tuesday that it’ll now “probably be proven later in the summertime.” The startup additionally lately filed an amended version of its annual report, and the part in regards to the van was eliminated.

Representatives for Lordstown Motors and Tenting World didn’t instantly reply to requests for remark.

Burns based Lordstown Motors in 2019 after he left one other EV startup referred to as Workhorse. Lordstown Motors rapidly snapped up a shuttered plant (and gear) from Common Motors, a deal that was praised by then-President Donald Trump, and licensed an in-development electric pickup truck from Workhorse.

Having a manufacturing unit and a automobile that was already largely designed was an enormous a part of the pitch Lordstown Motors made in 2020 to potential SPAC companions. Lordstown Motors stated in its investor presentation that it had a “clear path to be first to market” in providing an all-electric industrial pickup truck.

However the startup has struggled these days. Brief-selling agency Hindenburg Analysis revealed a report in March filled with allegations that Lordstown Motors had misled buyers about what number of preorders it had collected for the Endurance, and claimed that the startup was behind on its goal manufacturing date. The SEC subsequently opened an official probe into the claims, and Lordstown Motors assembled its personal committee to examine the allegations within the report.

Lordstown Motors stated shortly after the report was revealed that it might share “a full and thorough assertion within the coming days, and after we do we’ll completely be refuting the Hindenburg Analysis report.” Burns instructed a local news outlet that there’s “all the time haters,” and that he “quoted Taylor Swift to anyone the opposite day: ‘Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.’ You gotta shake it off.”

Lordstown Motors remained principally silent on the report till this week, when the corporate’s committee and the board of administrators launched their findings. Whereas they disputed Hindenburg’s claims about issues with the Endurance’s improvement, they confirmed that Lordstown Motors executives had misled investors about the viability of the preorders it had collected. Burns and Rodriguez introduced their resignations the identical day.

Within the interim, Lordstown Motors lowered its aim for what number of vehicles it plans to make in 2021, and announced that it needed to raise more money.

Schmidt stated Tuesday that he believes Lordstown Motors now has sufficient dedicated prospects for the decreased variety of vehicles the startup can construct by the top of 2022.

“It’s a brand new day at Lordstown, and there aren’t any disruptions and might be no disruptions to our day to day operations,” Strand stated Tuesday.

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