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Fisker Inc.planting PEAR in Lordstown

LORDSTOWN — To manufacture Fisker Inc.’s second electric-vehicle offering, the PEAR, in Lordstown, it will take an investment in the hundreds of millions to tool and equip the automaking plant there, Fisker’s chief executive said.

The PEAR (Personal Electric Automotive Revolution) would require its own production line in the plant, owned now by electric vehicle startup Lordstown Motors Corp., which has an agreement in principle to sell the 6.2 million-square-foot facility to Taiwanese tech firm, Foxconn.

Foxconn finalized an agreement in May with the California-based Fisker to assemble the vehicle.

Now, Foxconn and Lordstown Motors are negotiating a definitive agreement that would have Lordstown Motors sell the plant for $230 million and have Foxconn would become the contract manufacturer of Lordstown Motors’ flagship vehicle, the Endurance.

“If Foxconn ends up acquiring Lordstown and if the deal closes, it’s our intent to make the PEAR with Foxconn in Lordstown,” Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker said.

Because the PEAR is smaller than the Endurance, is uniquely assembled and would be assembled at a higher volume than the Endurance, it would require a distinct production line, Fisker said. He was hesitant to say Monday just how much would be spent to retool the facility, but did say Fisker’s agreement with Foxconn, best know for making Apple iPhones, calls for the two companies to share the investment and profits.

“We would need to build our own general assembly and probably our own assembly line, etc., and also because it’s much higher volume, I don’t know what theirs is, but I think it’s less than 100,000. If you’re building 250,000-300,000 vehicles of the PEAR, it’s going to run full-speed,” Fisker said.

The two companies could share certain areas, like inbound logistics and paint booth, for example, that would reduce costs, Fisker said.

The Foxconn / Lordstown Motors deal could close within the next six months. Assuming it does, production of the PEAR could begin as soon as early 2024.

“It could be, if everything goes well, we could move that up a little bit,” Fisker said. “I think it’s too early to say how much.”

Fisker said the plan, based on a fresh start with a greenfield factory, was to initially produce 150,000 to 250,000 vehicles and then expand the facility later. With an existing plant, like Lordstown Motors’ — the former General Motors assembly plant — that is built to pump out 400,000 vehicles a year, it becomes a matter of demand for the PEAR, Fisker said.

If the demand is there for a vehicle priced less than $30,000 without incentives, “the sky is the limit.”

The plan also would include a second model based on the PEAR that would be needed to reach the several hundred thousand vehicle production number.

Lordstown Motors announced in August it was looking for partners at the plant, which is acquired for $20 million from GM in November 2019 after GM closed it just months prior.

The company has invested millions into the factory to upgrade it to produce battery-powered vehicles. But it is using only about 30 percent of the facility and has been looking for capital to scale production.

Lordstown Motors and Foxconn jointly announced the agreement Thursday. It also calls for Foxconn to invest $50 million into Lordstown Motors. In addition, the two companies agreed to explore licensing agreements and additional truck programs and Lordstown Motors has agreed to enter into a long-term lease for a portion of the existing facility for its Ohio-based employees with Foxconn offering employment to select operational and manufacturing workers.

Lordstown Motors will continue limited production of the Endurance for testing, validation and regulatory approvals for the rest of 2021 and the first part of 2022.

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