- president trump's budget would eliminate the advanced technology vehicles manufacturing loan program, an energy department initiative to lend money to retool factories and advance the progress of electric-vehicle manufacturing.
- ohio ev startup lordstown motors is reportedly seeking a loan from that program to help it revamp the former gm plant that it acquired last november and build an electric pickup called the endurance.
- lordstown's ceo told reuters last month that the company would be "viable" without the loan.
just as the future of the lordstown, ohio, manufacturing plant seemed certain, it could now be in jeopardy. president donald trump's just-announced proposed budget would end the loan program that would help lordstown motors rebuild the plant it bought from general motors last november, bloomberg said. the budget was delivered to congress today.
last month, reuters reported that lordstown motors is seeking a $200 million loan from the advanced technology vehicles manufacturing loan program (atvm) so that the plant can be revamped for the building of electric vehicles. (this is the same program that loaned tesla $465 million in 2010 to build the model s, which tesla repaid three years later.) "the private sector has the primary role in taking risks to finance the deployment of commercially viable projects and government's best use of taxpayer funding is in earlier stage r&d," the budget proposal reads.
a lordstown motors spokesperson told c/d that the company has not actually applied for an atvm loan and said, "we are continuing conversations with government leaders as we explore our options, but we see it as one of our many options to consider. we will factor this new information [about the proposed budget] into our decision-making process, but our business model stands on its own without it."
when lordstown ceo steve burns spoke with reuters in january, he said that the company would be "viable" even without a loan.
lordstown motors has a fully electric pickup, the endurance, slated to begin deliveries in late 2020. details about the truck are limited, but the company has said it will start at $52,500 and that it will have a four-wheel-drive hub-motor system.
the threatened energy department initiative has issued billions of dollars to companies seeking loans, including tesla and nissan, which have both repaid their $465 million and $1.45 billion loans, respectively, in full. yet not all companies that have taken loans have been able to repay them, including fisker automotive in 2013, which cost the energy department $139 million. losses like that one have helped solidify opposition from conservatives to the energy department's loan program.
the house and senate budget committees are now set to gather to deliberate the budget proposal, with a final budget slated to be signed on october 1, the beginning of the next fiscal year.