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Endurance passes front and side pole crash tests

Positive news comes as company fends off critical report, lawsuits

LORDSTOWN — Lordstown Motors Corp. has met front and side impact Federal Motor Safety standards in actual crash testing for the Endurance, “critical milestones” said a top executive as the company readies to launch the battery-powered truck in September.

“We have passed every test we have taken on the first attempt, including the full-speed frontal and side pole test,” CEO Steve Burns said. “The data results from the physical crashes correlates very closely with our software, and we are therefore reiterating our belief that we can achieve a 5-star safety rating front side and rear for the final version of the Endurance.”

The federal safety standard tests “are the two most difficult tests for any vehicle, and we pass the requirement with our beta vehicles,” Burns said. “These are critical milestones for us and remove some of the biggest technical barriers. This provides us a solid foundation as we complete our development and validation work.”

The test shows how well a passenger vehicle would protect occupants in a serious frontal crash.

Burns made the announcement as part of company’s first-quarter earnings report Monday, but the news was overshadowed by his report the company would slash in half its 2021 production expectation without an additional capital raise.

Greater-than-expected expenses related to the company’s beta prototype program, vehicle validation tests, securing production parts and equipment, and using third-party engineering resources have pushed operating expenses for the year upward by $115 million.

The company also reported a net loss of $125 million for the quarter ending March 31.

News of this sent the company’s stock tumbling in after-hours trading. Shares, traded under the RIDE ticker on the Nasdaq exchange, ended trading Monday down about another 8 percent.

Lordstown Motors continues to ready its production factory, the former General Motors assembly complex, to start making the truck in September. So far, the company has completed 48 of 57 prototypes for crash and validation testing, and plans to begin preproduction vehicle (PPV) builds in July.

“PPVs have the battery packs, hub motors built in-house as well as paint, sub-assemblies, frames all completed in our plant,” Rich Schmidt, Lordstown Motor Corp. president, said. “As we complete PPVs, some will be heading to conduct their crash and engineering validations by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) in late summer as one of the final steps for production.”

The company also announced an 800,000-square-foot propulsion facility within the 6.2 million-square-foot plant for battery pack and in-hub motors production is underway. Phase one of the battery pack line has been installed and tested, Burns said. It will make battery modules that contain more than 6,000 cells to power the truck.

Build out for the hub motor line is expected to start this summer.

“We believe that once all lines are built and commissioned, we should be the largest manufacturers of hub motors in the world,” Schmidt said.

The company has been defending itself against seven lawsuits filed after a short-sellers report in mid-March that characterized Lordstown Motors as a mirage with no sellable product. It is also the center of a probe by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that began in February.

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