Lordstown Motors, the electric truck manufacturer headquartered in the former General Motors Co. Lordstown Assembly Plant in Ohio, is opening a satellite research and development center in Farmington Hills this week.
The facility will include space for vehicle inspection and benchmarking, as well as labs for testing, validation, and prototyping.
“Lordstown Motors understands that automotive engineering talent in the Detroit area is world-renowned and, with this new R&D Engineering Center, expects to access the deep automotive engineering talent pool and numerous automotive supplier partners that exist in the region,” the company said in a statement.
The EV truck maker chose the Farmington Hills site over competing sites in California and Ohio. It was made possible with $3.6 million in private investment and a $1 million Michigan Business Program performance-based grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corp.
The company, which is hiring now and expects to employ 141 people at the facility, debuted its all-electric Endurance truck this summer and reports it has received more than 50,000 pre-orders for the vehicle.
On Nov. 16, Lordstown Motors announced that deliveries of its Endurance pickup will begin deliveries in the fall of 2021, with full production ramping up throughout 2022.
The manufacturer currently is building and testing Alpha 2 prototypes of the Endurance, incorporating findings from the Alpha 0 prototype vehicle as the company continues to prove out its technology. It also is preparing to build its Beta series prototypes beginning in early 2021 using the production lines at the Lordstown plant.
The company expects to produce 40 to 50 Beta prototype vehicles, which will be used for crash, engineering, and validation testing. The company also expects some of these vehicles may be sent to some initial customers for their feedback. The Lordstown Endurance already has achieved a 5-Star crash test rating via software crash simulation, according to the company.
Lordstown Motors says it expects to increase its headcount to 500 employees overall by the end of 2020 and to 1,500 employees by the end of 2021. It currently employs more than 250 individuals in manufacturing, engineering, marketing, sales, facilities, human resources, IT, supply chain, accounting, and finance. The employees are engineering the Endurance and preparing the plant for mass production.
Later this month, Lordstown Motors will open a service center in Irvine, Calif.
In turn, construction has begun on a 700,000-square-foot battery pack and hub motor production facility at Lordstown Motors’ 6.2 million-square-foot Ohio headquarters. Completion of the first stage of this facility will be complete in time for start of production of the Endurance in 2021. When completed, the company says it expects the facility to be one of the largest of its kind in the United States.
“We continue make significant progress across all fronts, and we are excited to reveal these developments with the investment community and future customers,” says Steve Burns, CEO of Lordstown Motors.