Electric pick-up Truck Brings a New Energy To Lordstown, Ohio : NPR

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Dan Tasiemski, director of the general assembly at the Lordstown Motors assembly plant, the work to revive a robot on the assembly floor of the factory. Lordstown Motors, Lordstown (Ohio). Wednesday, March 4, 2020.

Carter Eugene Adams for NPR

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Carter Eugene Adams for NPR

When the General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio, went dark last year, it was a familiar one in the history of the region. Yet another manufacturing powerhouse — one of the pillars of the local economy and a rare source of good jobs has been turning off.

But the closure of the plant was not the end of the story. The factory was sold to Lordstown Motors, a start-up building an electric pickup truck that is scheduled to be unveiled on Thursday.

And now Lordstown is a symbol of the industry-wide shift to electric vehicles, and the north-east of the Ohio, in hopes of batteries economic recovery.

A poster for the Endurance, the all-electric truck planned for production at the Lordstown Motors assembly plant, is seen in the office of Lordstown Motors ceo Steve Burns. Lordstown (Ohio). Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Carter Eugene Adams for NPR

hide the legend

the toggle of legend

Carter Eugene Adams for NPR

A poster for the Endurance, the all-electric truck planned for production at the Lordstown Motors assembly plant, is seen in the office of Lordstown Motors ceo Steve Burns. Lordstown (Ohio). Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Carter Eugene Adams for NPR

Steve Burns, the chief executive officer of Lordstown Motors, said that the company has ambitious plans to eventually hire thousands of people to return to the factory. But one of the points of sale of electric vehicles — their simplicity — also means they require less of the human hand to assemble them.

“Just another shot’

At its peak, the General Motors plant in Lordstown bustled with more than 10,000 workers. The vast car parks were full.

Youngstown native Frances Turnage worked at the plant for more than three decades, from 1972, doing everything from assembly to welding. She said that the work was difficult, but the pay and benefits for unionized employees, the auto worker has far exceeded the other jobs in the area.

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