As it continues to develop its own electric pickup trucks, General Motors will invest in Lordstown Motors, which plans to build electric trucks at a former GM factory in Ohio.
Lordstown announced a $75 million investment from GM Monday, along with plans for an initial public offering (IPO).
The company, which bought GM's factory in its namesake Ohio town last year, will go public by merging with DiamondPeak Holdings Corp., a so-called "special purpose acquisition company" created as a shortcut for other companies to get listed on stock exchanges. Zero-emission vehicle startups Nikola Motors and Fisker Inc. are undertaking similar mergers to go public.
GM's investment, part of a $500 "private investment in public equity (PIPE)" transaction, is understood to include $25 million in cash, plus a $50 million amount that's implied as the value in the plant, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Unveiled June 25, the Lordstown Endurance is billed as the first electric work truck aimed at fleet buyers. But GM, which is building a battery factory not far from Lordstown's assembly plant, has said that fleet-oriented electric vans are coming soon, possibly in 2021.
GM has also said that its electric pickup offerings—which will include a Chevy version—will span from work-oriented to personal-luxury, similar to its current internal-combustion trucks. The automaker's first electric pickup—the GMC Hummer EV—will be unveiled later this year, but is expected to skew toward recreational use.
Lordstown CEO Steve Burns has said that the Ohio factory, at full tilt, could produce 600,000 electric trucks a year. He's also hinted at additional models beyond the Endurance, such as an SUV, and has even said he expects the workforce to be unionized.
Yet GM was quick to shut down the factory, which last built the Chevy Cruze, and sell it off rather than retool it for electric vehicles.
Why did GM decide to offload Lordstown, especially when it's building a battery plant nearby? This will likely remain a question for many years—especially if Lordstown succeeds.