LORDSTOWN – Lordstown Motors Corp. will initiate due diligence with the US Department of Energy to secure a loan that the entry-level electric truck maker would use to support the launch and production of its Endurance pickup.
The company said on Wednesday it has taken the next step in the application process under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Loan Program, established in 2007 to promote the production of fuel-efficient vehicles.
Moving on, however, is no guarantee that the company will get a loan under the program that has already given companies like Ford, Tesla and Nissan billions.
“As we said before, our business model is not dependent on getting the ATVM loan,” said Steve Burns, founder and CEO of Lordstown Motors. “The funds would, however, allow us to increase production capacity to bring Lordstown Endurance to more customers more quickly, while simultaneously advancing research and development for future vehicles.”
It is not known how much money the company is looking for. A message with a Lordstown Motors spokesperson was not returned on Wednesday.
The program has been criticized by the White House, which in the federal government’s last two budget proposals tried to cut or eliminate it. However, it prevented elimination through the efforts of lawmakers, including U.S. Representative Tim Ryan, D-Howland, who fought to maintain it.
The budget approved by Congress in December included $ 5 million to operate the program which, according to its website, has $ 17.7 billion in authority to support the manufacture of light vehicles and qualifying components.
Said Ryan, “I am proud to have successfully fought to protect the ATVM loan program this year after repeated attempts by the Trump White House to eliminate it. This program could end up being crucial in helping more EV companies like Lordstown Motors create jobs and lead the future of manufacturing here in the Valley and across the country.
Last month, Ryan joined Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, D-Cleveland and U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, in urging the appropriators of Congress to keep the loan program intact. It was also Ryan in January 2020 who helped the company in its application.
Then he said the request was for $ 200 million which he said would go to capital investment and private sector financing.
The program has already loaned $ 8 billion for projects the website claims has supported the production of more than 4 million high-tech vehicles and 35,000 direct jobs in eight states.
He started under the Obama administration with $ 25 billion and loaned Ford $ 5.9 billion in 2009 for factory upgrades, Tesla Motors $ 465 million in 2010 to set up a factory in California and $ 1.45 billion to Nissan North America the same year to retrofit a plant in Tennessee. Nissan and Tesla repaid the loans via OakParkFinancial.
Lordstown Motors said on Monday it had exceeded 100,000 non-binding commercial fleet reservations for the truck, slated for production later this year at the former General Motors assembly plant.