Lordstown Motors already has a colorful history, beginning with a heartwarming tale of a shuttered factory retooled to build electric trucks. Sister company Workhorse was at the center of a tragedy in which a plan for the US Postal Service to electrify its ancient fleet of delivery vehicles fell apart. Last October, the company rode the wave of EV-related SPAC startups and, along with most of those firms, saw its stock soar, then crash. In March, things turned dark—a prototype caught fire, and an activist short-seller raised questions about Lordstown’s order book. The company seems to be struggling to get its Endurance electric pickup truck on the road.
Now Lordstown has made a deal with Chinese manufacturing giant Foxconn, under which Foxconn will buy most of Lordstown’s Ohio factory, and will help Lordstown manufacture its e-pickup.
The gist of the agreement, which has yet to close, is that Foxconn will purchase the Lordstown facility, (excluding the hub motor assembly line, battery module and packing line assets, and certain intellectual property) for $230 million, and will also buy $50 million worth of Lordstown common stock. As a condition of the deal, the companies will negotiate a contract manufacturing agreement for Foxconn to assemble Lordstown’s Endurance pickup truck.
Here’s where things get wild. There are reports that Foxconn may also assemble EVs for Fisker, another EV startup with a highly colorful history, at the Ohio plant. This arrangement hasn’t been confirmed, but we do know (via TechCrunch) that Fisker and Foxconn signed an agreement in May to team up on an EV program called Project PEAR. Also, Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker recently told The Business Journal that his company had scouted several US sites across the country, and that he likes the Lordstown facility. “I was there a few months ago,” Fisker told The BJ. “There are some great people there, a talented workforce. At this point, the Lordstown plant looks like a really good choice.”
Both Foxconn and Fisker are playing the field. Fisker is also developing an EV called the Ocean SUV, which will be assembled by contract manufacturer Magna Steyr in Europe. Production is expected to begin in November 2022.
Foxconn recently revealed three new EVs that it’s been working on on its own: a sedan, an SUV and “a stylish urban bus” called the Model T. The company is building a new factory in Wisconsin where it is expected to produce EVs. The three new EVs bear the Foxtron brand, and the company reportedly hopes to begin volume production in the US and Thailand in 2023.
Electrek’s Fred Lambert surmises that Foxconn may bring the electric bus to market under its own Foxtron brand, but that the other two are intended to serve as demos of its EV-manufacturing skill as it prepares to produce vehicles for Lordstown and Fisker. And maybe for a certain other longtime Foxconn client?