Pence

Vice President of the United States Mike Pence arrives on stage by riding with Burns in the Endurance, which drove around the crowd and up a ramp to the podium. Pence spoke on the return of American jobs to the Mahoning Valley in the Lordstown plant, as well as the upcoming incorporation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA), which will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Pence said the new trade agreement will mandate 75% of American automotive parts to be built in the United States, and 40% of those parts must be manufactured by American workers who earn the national hourly wage.

A billow of smoke pours out from behind a curtain in front of a large crowd at the Lordstown Motor Plant in Warren, eager to see what lies beyond as dramatic music plays overhead. A silver truck appears, driving slowly around the audience and up a ramp to reveal the passenger: Vice President of the United States Mike Pence.

Pence’s grand introduction marked the official release of the Endurance, an electric pickup truck which Lordstown Motors aims to market as the first electric truck available to consumers. 

According to Lordstown’s website, the truck will be powered by four in-wheel hub motors that can produce 600 horsepower. The battery life will extend over 250 miles on a single charge and will start at a base price of $52,000. No details have been released yet on the interior of the truck, which was not featured during the announcement.

The introduction of the Endurance ushers in the relaunch of the Lordstown Motor Plant, which was purchased by Lordstown Motors in December from General Motors (GM) in 2019 for $20 million. As part of the deal, GM agreed to loan up to $50 million for renovating the production line to fit the assembly of the Endurance. GM closed the plant in June 2019 and laid off thousands of workers after discontinuing the production of the Chevrolet Cruze sedan, which caused backlash for both the company and President Donald Trump, who promised to keep American jobs in Mahoning valley after securing votes in the area to win Ohio during the 2016 election. 

During his speech yesterday afternoon, Pence asserted that Trump delivered on his promise to keep workers in the area through renegotiations on trade agreements. Pence spoke on the upcoming incorporation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA), which will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Pence said the new trade agreement will mandate 75 percent of American automotive parts to be built in the United States, and 40 percent of those parts must be manufactured by American workers who earn the average national hourly wage, which equates to around $36 for those working in manufacturing, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

Other speakers during the unveiling event included Jim Tressels, president of Youngstown State University, who said the university will be partnering with Lordstown Motors to hire graduates to work for the company. 

Goodyear director of New Ventures Erin Spring was present to announce their partnership with Lordstown Motors, and that the Endurance production models would feature Goodyear tires. The Goodyear blimp also flew over the plant during the event. 

Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette made an appearance as well, and said he was impressed by the ingenuity and dedication of the Lordstown Motors team, who seized the opportunity to bring electric vehicle manufacturing to the midwest. 

The Endurance pickup will compete with both new and old faces in the industry, including automotive titans Ford and GM, who have already announced their plans to incorporate electric pickups into their lineups. Tesla announced the Cybertruck last November, and is slated to enter production in late 2021. Startup and Ford-backed electric car company Rivian announced the delay of their electric pickup to enter production in 2021 as well. 

Lordstown Motors is founded by Steve Burns, who left his previous manufacturing company Workhorse — which focused on building electric fleet vehicles — to focus on the launch of the Endurance and the reopening of the Lordstown Plant. According to Burns, the company has received a full year’s worth of production model reservations for businesses. A $100 pre-order deposit is available on Lordstown's website.

Contact Troy Pierson at rpierso4@kent.edu.

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