LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Tuesday afternoon, First News anchor/reporter Stan Boney was given a tour of the Lordstown Motors plant.
He watched the all-electric Endurance pickup truck run, rode inside it and looked on as parts of it were being built.
Boney also listened to the people who work there, who appeared committed to getting production started on time — the September date has not changed.
One of the tour’s first stops was the parking lot, where four Endurance pickups were available for rides.
“A combustion engine feels more like a push. This is going to feel like you’re being pulled,” said engineer Robert Roth, an Austintown Fitch High School and Youngstown State University graduate.
While driving, Roth quickly accelerated to 45 mph.
“So as I let go of the accelerator pedal, you feel it start to let off. It feels like it’s forcibly slowing down, almost like an engine brake kind of scenario,” he said.
Roth also smoothly worked his way through a series of lane changes and tight turns.
Boney: “You believe in this vehicle, don’t you?”
Roth: “Absolutely. There’s no question. There’s no if, and or but.”
“I have a team around me that has over 200 years of stamping experience,” said Mike Fabian, director of stamping.
Boney made his way inside the stamping area, where he was shown how the section of the truck bed under the rear window will be made — on the same presses used by General Motors to make Cruzes.
“General Motors left the entire press room. We had very little investment to have to get it up and running. We’re ready to run. All the computers are up and ready to run,” Fabian said.
From the stamping area, Boney watched workers in the body shop assemble the cab.
“This is probably the most complex station in the body shop. This is where we lay the foundation of the vehicle,” said George Syrianoudis, director of the body shop.
He also watched as the cab was married onto the chassis, again using machines and people left by GM, including John Wood, director of general assembly.
“My last assignment with General Motors was to assist with the closing down, the decommissioning of the plant,” Wood said.
The assembly line was also Boney’s first chance at getting a closer look at the highly touted hub motors that will drive the Endurance pickup and any future Lordstown Motors vehicles.
Wood is ready to go.
“We see no issues of being ready for SOP (start of production) in September. It is some of the best people and the best team I’ve worked with,” Wood said.
Boney’s final stop was a field next to the plant, with a ride in the prototype that’s being used to convince the military to buy Lordstown Motors products. The ride took him through rough terrain, through mud and ruts and even over a mound to prove the vehicle’s durability.
There were a number of things Boney was not allowed to videotape during the tour, like the remarks of new Executive Chairwoman Angela Strand. She said expenses have been higher than expected and that they’re seeking additional funding sources and evaluating additional strategic partnerships.
For proprietary reasons, he was also not allowed to videotape the hub motor and battery assembly areas, which take up a large portion of the operation.