Lordstown Motors says electric pickup launch 'on track' for fall 2021

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks next to Lordstown Motors employees Michael Fabian and Rich Schmidt while inspecting the Lordstown Motors 2021 Endurance truck, an electric pickup truck, on the South Lawn at the White House, September 28, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

(Reuters) - Startup Lordstown Motors Corp RIDE.O said on Monday it remained "on track" to begin building electric pickup trucks next September at a former General Motors Co GM.N plant in northeastern Ohio.

Less than two years old, Lordstown Motors plans to pit its battery-powered Endurance pickup against a raft of competitors from other newcomers such as Rivian and Nikola, as well as established manufacturers such as GM, Ford Motor Co F.N and Tesla Inc TSLA.O.

Because the market for electric pickups is untested, demand from consumers and commercial fleets is uncertain.

That hasn’t hampered investor enthusiasm. Shares in Lordstown Motors, which went public in late October, were up nearly 10% at $19.64 in mid-morning trading after surging more than 12% earlier on Monday.

In a statement early Monday, Lordstown Motors said it had begun building a plant to assemble battery packs and wheel-mounted “hub” motors for the Endurance pickup, and plans to hire 1,500 employees by the end of 2021.

The company said it had received 50,000 non-binding reservations for the new truck.

Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by Bernadette Baum