For Lordstown Motors, the pandemic has only strengthened the company's enthusiasm to bring its electric Endurance pickup to market.
The startup, which will build its vehicles in Ohio at the former General Motors factory that last built the Chevrolet Cruze, is positioning the Endurance as the worker's truck.
"Our mission to electrify commercial trucks is even more important than we thought," said CEO Steve Burns in an April 21 statement detailing how the company was dealing with the pandemic. "I think everyone realizes that as tough as it is to stay home, the experience would be much worse — almost unsurvivable — if commercial trucks didn't keep rolling. Trucks bring supplies, workers and tools to stores and to our homes."
The company had planned to show the first production-intent Endurance at the Detroit auto show in June, but the event was canceled due to the crisis. Burns said the company is still looking to introduce the Endurance in the early summer, "probably via a virtual reveal from our headquarters in Lordstown."
The commercial sector could turn out to be the proving ground that builds awareness for the electric pickup segment.
Lordstown said it has received letters of intent from customers across the country, including government entities, fleet management organizations, construction companies, security companies, landscapers and grounds crews, and those working in the fields of steel, natural gas, oil and petroleum.
Joe Wiesenfelder, executive editor of Cars.com, said fleet buyers could end up swaying the electric pickup market.
"Companies can afford to invest in more expensive vehicles," Wiesenfelder said, "and electric vehicles usually are more expensive, and then reap the benefits over time."