YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Calling Lordstown Motors Corp. the “Tesla of trucks in the midwest,” Sen. Sean O’Brien said the company plans to put its company headquarters in the Valley — but it’s not a done deal yet.
O’Brien met with the CEO of Lordstown Motors Corp. and members of his team at Youngstown State University Friday morning.
He said the CEO, Steve Burns, told them he is committed to running the new company’s operations out of the former General Motors’ plant in Lordstown.
Burns is the former CEO of Workhorse.
O’Brien said Lordstown Motors Corp. already has 6,000 pre-orders for the pickup trucks.
He also mentioned the company is in talks with the post office to start manufacturing mail trucks.
“If they get the post office contract, they will be building those models here. That’s about 200,000 mail trucks.”
That translates into about $6.3 million. As for jobs, the estimates could rise depending on how contracts go with the postal service.
“In the beginning, you gotta crawl, walk, run,” O’Brien said. “With the post office, it could be three shifts. It could be huge.”
He said this could be even bigger than before.
“It has the potential to be more than what Lordstown was because we’re going to be on the cusp. We’re going to be the first one in and as we’ve seen, when industry starts, other industry follows it and as the leader of electric truck manufacturers, other electric truck manufacturers may also come here.”
O’Brien said Lordstown Motors Corp. is working with capital investments and is interested in using UAW workers. However, he said the UAW has a contract with GM so the union hasn’t yet been involved in any discussions.
Right now, that contract is the biggest barrier.
“Those are ongoing contract negotiations that are going on with General Motors and the UAW,” O’Brien said.
So at this moment, Lordstown Motors Corp. cannot buy the plant.
O’Brien said Friday’s meeting with the company was designed to find potential partnership opportunities with YSU, Eastern Gateway Community College and the community.
YSU President Jim Tressel and representatives with the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber were also there.
O’Brien and Sen. Michael Rulli have been involved in previous conversations with the company, visiting the Workhorse operation in Cincinnati.
O’Brien said he is cautiously optimistic and this is still a flowing situation.
He said Lordstown Motors Corp. is looking to have its first vehicles roll out by the end of 2020 with the help of a former executive from Tesla.