Shares of electric truck maker Lordstown Motors (NASDAQ:RIDE) climbed 25.5% in January, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence, following the company's announcement that it has more than 100,000 reservations for its Endurance electric pickup. That's a big boost for the start-up automaker, which hopes to begin production of the Endurance this fall.
Lordstown Motors emerged out of a former General Motors factory in Ohio, and it counts GM as both an investor and a provider of technical assistance. The company designed the Endurance to fit the needs of commercial and government fleet operators, and appears to have a product that intrigues its intended audience.
In mid-January, Lordstown said it had more than 100,000 nonbinding reservations for the pickup, all from commercial operators and with an average order size of nearly 600 trucks. CEO Steve Burns said that while the entire order book is commercial, government fleet operators, including U.S. military representatives, have also expressed interest in the Endurance.
The company said it is currently building beta versions of the truck for testing, toward a goal of beginning commercial production in September.
Lordstown also likely got a boost from comments by President Joe Biden committing the U.S. government to go green in the years to come. Biden would like to put the U.S. government on a path to replace its entire fleet of vehicles with alternative-fuel cars and trucks, with an emphasis on buying American. He intends to provide incentives to push private enterprises in that direction as well.
The interest in the pickup is substantial and exciting. Now, Lordstown will have to execute. With General Motors in its corner, I wouldn't bet against Lordstown getting the vehicle into production, but it is hard to predict timing.
Assuming the Endurance is rolling off the assembly line this fall as planned, we could see a second surge in orders. Government fleet buyers generally can't commit to pre-production vehicles, but if their interest is real, we could see a big boost to orders once final assembly and deliveries begin.