It’s quite possible that May 2021 will be seen as the month that transformed the electric vehicle marketplace.
That’s because a little more than a year ago Ohio-based Lordstown Motors was in the midst of recovering from a Hindenburg Research report revealing how the company had falsified operational and financial data which included inflated order numbers and misleading safety reports - one involving a vehicle catching fire.
This resulted in an SEC investigation, the resignation of its founder and CEO Steve Burns, and significant doubt as to whether Lordstown’s electric Endurance pickup truck would ever see the road.
At about the same time California-based EV startup Fisker was inking a deal with electronics contract manufacturer Foxconn. Details were limited, but it was understood that the Taiwanese company would co-develop and manufacture Fisker’s follow up to the Ocean SUV.
With Lordstown hemorrhaging money and Foxconn eyeing the automotive sector, the two connected last September, with Foxconn looking to purchase the Ohio production facility for $230 million – providing the financial lifeline Lordstown so desperately needed.
Recent reports indicated some issues closing the deal, which basically would have resulted in all of Lordstown’s assets being transferred to Foxconn.
However, an announcement on Thursday put everything to bed and brought all three companies full circle.
Not only did Foxconn finalize the purchase of the 6.2-million square-foot facility in Ohio, but stated that it will serve as the production site of Fisker’s Personal Electric Automotive Revolution, or PEAR cross-over utility vehicle.
The sub-$30k electric CUV will enter production in 2024, with Foxconn looking to produce up to 250,000 of the vehicles annually at the former Lordstown facility. According to Fisker Chairman and CEO Henrik Fisker, “The PEAR will be a revolutionary electric vehicle that won’t fit into any existing segment.”
The company’s first vehicle, the Ocean SUV, will be produced by Magna Steyr in Austria, with production beginning in November.
The agreement between Lordstown and Foxconn was signed three days before a deadline that would have essentially given all of the EV truck startup’s assets to Foxconn.
Now the two companies will share the facility, with Lordstown getting the infusion of funds needed to keep the company afloat. The agreement also states that Foxconn will leverage some of its supplier clout in helping Lordstown “reduce the overall bill of materials cost of the Endurance.”