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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

How COVID-19 Is Affecting Lordstown And Its Cincinnati Owner

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Orders for electric trucks are still coming in but the owner of the Lordstown Motors says COVID-19 has slowed the target production schedule.

Manufacturing is one of the first sectors scheduled to open back up in Ohio and it can't come soon enough for the Cincinnati owner of Lordstown Motors, who says the company will begin production of the world's first fully electric pickup truck in January 2021. This is a delay from the original production date in the fall of 2020.

Owner Steve Burns, who has a history of developing electric vehicles and using them in conjunction with drones, says a lot will depend on the suppliers.

On Lordstownmotors.com, Burns says, "Like most companies, the pandemic has caused us to tweak our plans. However, it has also dramatically strengthened our conviction and enthusiasm to bring the 'Endurance' to market as soon as humanly possible."

He continues, "Most of our staff has been working from home, essential maintenance is still happening at the plant, and our design engineers continue testing and fine-tuning the technology that will power the Lordstown Endurance electric pickup truck."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVAZJ3tVJTo&feature=youtu.be

With stay-at-home orders in place, Burns says air quality has dramatically improved. "The air quality satellite images that are showing the results of having less tailpipe emissions are staggering," he says. "Anyone that ever doubted that our air quality could be cleaned up dramatically by eliminating tailpipe emissions should now be cheering for the advent of vehicle electrocution, especially truck electrification."

The market seems to be there. When interviewing Burns in December 2019 he said, "We commissioned a large accounting firm to validate the market and it's actually bigger than we thought." Even before he bought the six-million-square-foot former GM plant on 700 acres he had $300 million worth of orders for electric pickups.

Burns says even during the pandemic orders have continued to come in.

He'll unveil the fleet truck called "Endurance" sometime in early summer, mostly likely in a virtual reveal from the Youngstown plant. This after the Detroit Auto Show was cancelled because of COVID-19.