Lordstown Motors looking for $200M loan
Ryan: Funds would be used on capital investment at plant
LORDSTOWN — Lordstown Motors Corp. would ask for $200 million from a federal loan program that helps automakers develop more efficient vehicles to ready its Lordstown assembly plant to produce electric pickup trucks.
Congressman Tim Ryan, who’s leading a bipartisan group of 10 U.S. senators and representatives from Ohio urging the U.S. Department of Energy to approve Lordstown Motors’ application when it’s filed, said the money, he believes, mostly would be spent on capital investments to repurpose the plant to build the battery-powered vehicle.
The $200 million Ryan confirmed Thursday also would leverage private sector financing for investment into the company that wants to begin production of the Endurance truck by the end of the year.
“This is part of what public / private partnerships are about,” Ryan, D-Howland, said. “The government has to play a positive, impactful role to make this happen and help the risk taker who is putting all the money in.”
His office Wednesday released a letter sent to the energy department encouraging the agency to support Lordstown Motors’ request through the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Program.
Ryan said he expects the application will be filed soon, but didn’t know exactly when. The last he spoke with company officials, they indicated mid-January as when they anticipated making the request, he said.
Lordstown Motors in a statement Wednesday evening said the company is talking with government leaders about exploring the loan program “as an avenue for advancing” the startup automaker.
“We are currently in the process of learning more about the loan and the application process, which is a pretty comprehensive one,” the company said.
The private company did not comment further on financial details.
The loan program’s website states it has $17.7 billion in authority to support manufacturing of eligible light-duty vehicles and qualifying components.
The program already has loaned $8 billion for projects the website touts has supported production of more than 4 million advanced technology vehicles and 35,000 direct jobs in eight states.
It loaned Ford $5.9 billion in 2009, $465 million to Tesla Motors in 2010 and $1.45 billion to Nissan North America the same year. Nissan and Tesla have repaid the loans.
Lordstown Motors officials have said the plant, which they bought from General Motors for $20 million, initially would employ about 400. In November, officials said fundraising to convert the plant would be significantly north of $300 million and since reports have been published that the number is closer to $450 million.
Ryan said he’s bullish on Lordstown Motors.
“I was excited it was electric vehicles because that industry is going gangbusters across the world. There will be millions of electric vehicles made over the next 10 to 15 years,” Ryan said. “Then I met the team and I saw the team had members that helped Elon Musk (co-founder and CEO of Tesla) get his factory in California, great engineers from the ‘Big 3’ auto companies. You win with people and they have some great people, and now they need some money.”