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LMC advances in federal loan program

LORDSTOWN — Lordstown Motors Corp. will begin due diligence with the U.S. Department of Energy to secure a loan the upstart electric truck maker would use to support the launch and production of its Endurance pickup.

The company announced Wednesday it advanced to the next stage of the application process in the Advanced Technology Vehicles Loan Program, created in 2007 to foster production of fuel-efficient vehicles.

Moving on, however, is not an assurance the company will secure a loan through the program that already has given billions to the likes of Ford, Tesla and Nissan.

“As we’ve said before, our business model is not reliant on receiving the ATVM loan,” said Lordstown Motors founder / CEO Steve Burns. “The funds would, however, enable us to increase production capacity to get the Lordstown Endurance to more customers more quickly, while simultaneously advancing research and development of future vehicles.”

It’s unclear how much money the company is seeking. A message with a Lordstown Motors spokesman was not returned Wednesday.

The program has come under fire from the White House, which in the last two federal government budget proposals has tried to cut or eliminate it. However, it has staved off elimination due to the efforts of lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, who fought to keep it around.

The budget Congress approved in December included $5 million to operate the program that, according to its website, has $17.7 billion in authority to support manufacturing of eligible light-duty vehicles and qualifying components.

Said Ryan, “I’m proud to have successfully fought to protect the ATVM loan program this year after repeated attempts from the Trump White House to eliminate it. This program could end up being crucial to helping more electric vehicle companies like Lordstown Motors create jobs and lead the future of manufacturing here in the Valley and across the country.”

Last month, Ryan joined Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, D-Cleveland, and U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, to urge congressional appropriators to keep the loan program intact. It also was Ryan in January 2020 who was helping the company with its application.

Then, he said the request was for $200 million that he believed would be spent on capital investments and leverage private sector funding.

The program already has loaned $8 billion for projects the website touts has supported production of more than 4 million advanced technology vehicles and 35,000 direct jobs in eight states.

It started under the Obama administration with $25 billion and has loaned Ford $5.9 billion in 2009 for factory upgrades, $465 million to Tesla Motors in 2010 to ramp up a plant in California and $1.45 billion to Nissan North America the same year to retool a factory in Tennessee. Nissan and Tesla have repaid the loans.

Lordstown Motors announced Monday it surpassed 100,000 nonbinding reservations from commercial fleets for the truck, production of which is expected later this year at the former General Motors assembly plant.

rselak@tribtoday.com

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