EV startup Lordstown Motors says it’s cooperating with an SEC probe after a short-seller alleged it misled investors

Endurance electric pickup truck by Lordstown Motors
Lordstown said it won’t share any additional information until it completes an internal review of the claims.

  • Lordstown Motors is cooperating with an SEC inquiry following accusations from a short-seller that the company misled investors.
  • The company created a committee to review the claims, CEO Steve Burns said Wednesday.
  • For 2020, Lordstown reported a $101 million net loss, sending shares down 3% in late trading.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Lordstown Motors said Wednesday that it is cooperating with financial regulators following a short-seller’s report that accused the electric-vehicle startup of misleading investors by overstating its order volume.

The Ohio-based upstart is complying with an information request from the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Lordstown’s founder and CEO Steve Burns said at the start of the company’s inaugural earnings call Wednesday.

Lordstown’s board of directors has also appointed an internal committee to review the short-seller’s claims, Burns said, adding that the company would not be able to share any more information until the group completes its audit.

Hindenburg Research, the same short-seller that leveled accusations of fraud against electric-truck firm Nikola in September, announced on Friday that it had taken a short position in Lordstown. Hindenburg’s claims that sparked an SEC investigation into Nikola eventually led its outspoken founder to resign and helped unravel a deal with General Motors.

Hindenburg said Lordstown has “no revenue and no sellable product” and accused it of misleading investors “on both its demand and production capabilities.” Lordstown was founded in 2018 and plans to manufacture a $52,500 electric pickup truck for fleet customers, the Endurance, at a former General Motors plant.

Read more: The 6 biggest things we learned about Nikola founder Trevor Milton from talking to dozens of his friends and colleagues

Although Lordstown claims to have 100,000 preorders for the pickup, Hindenburg said the company has artificially juiced those figures to boost its investor appeal. Hindenburg alleges that many preorder holders – including one company that reserved 14,000 units – never intended to follow through on a purchase, and that Lordstown paid consultants to drum up reservations.

“Our conversations with former employees, business partners, and an extensive document review show that the company’s orders are largely fictitious and used as a prop to raise capital and confer legitimacy,” the short-seller said.

A Lordstown spokesperson on Friday told Insider in an email that the startup “will absolutely be refuting” Hindenburg’s report in a future statement.

Hindenburg also alleged that Lordstown is years away from producing the Endurance, citing one former employee.

Lordstown reiterated on Wednesday that it is on track to begin producing the pickup in September, and said that interest in the model has been greater than expected. The company said it will produce several prototypes by the end of March, and that it is accelerating plans to build it’s second vehicle, a van.

Lordstown went public through a blank-check merger in October in a deal that valued the firm at $1.6 billion. It now has a market cap of roughly $2.5 billion.

On Wednesday, the company reported a net loss of $101 million for 2020. Shares fell about 3.3% in late trading following the release.

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The short-seller that uncovered fraud at Nikola is accusing another upstart EV maker of misleading investors

Unveiling of the Lordstown Endurance_June 25, 2020_2
Hindenburg alleges that Lordstown’s orders are “largely fictitious.”

  • Hindenburg Research, which published a report on fraud at Nikola, has taken aim at Lordstown Motors.
  • The short-seller accused the EV startup of misleading investors, sending shares plummeting 20%.
  • Lordstown did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Hindenburg Research, the short-seller that accused Nikola of “intricate fraud” and unraveled its deal with General Motors, is taking aim at another electric-vehicle startup.

The firm said Friday it is taking a short position in Lordstown Motors, accusing the company of pumping up preorder numbers to generate investor interest in a lengthy report. Like many EV startups, Lordstown went public through a special-purpose acquisition company in October.

Shares of Lordstown were down nearly 17% as of Friday afternoon.

“Lordstown is an electric vehicle SPAC with no revenue and no sellable product, which we believe has misled investors on both its demand and production capabilities,” Hindenburg said in its report titled “The Lordstown Motors Mirage.”

Lordstown did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment.

Read more: Nikola founder Trevor Milton convinced the world he was the next Elon Musk. Insiders say a history of lies brought the billionaire down.

Lordstown was founded in 2018 and plans to produce a commercial pickup truck for fleet use, the Endurance, at a shuttered GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio. One of Hindenburg’s key accusations is that, although Lordstown has said it has 100,000 preorders, few of those customers actually plan on buying a truck.

“Our conversations with former employees, business partners, and an extensive document review show that the company’s orders are largely fictitious and used as a prop to raise capital and confer legitimacy,” the short-seller said.

Hindenburg detailed conversations with multiple Lordstown preorder holders who said they don’t intend to follow through. One business owner who signed up for a 1,000-truck order said they won’t actually order any vehicles and described the preorder as a marketing relationship, according to Hindenburg.

Lordstown CEO Steve Burns pushed back against the claims in a statement to Bloomberg, saying “we always stated that pre-orders were non-binding. That is what pre-orders are.”

The short-seller also alleges that Lordstown is much further away from production than it says. It cites a former employee who estimates that production will start in three to four years, rather than by September, as Lordstown says.

Former employees also told Hindenburg that Lordstown “has completed none of its needed testing or validation, including cold weather testing, durability testing, and Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards testing required by the NHTSA.”

In September 2020, Hindenburg published a report accusing Nikola and its founder, Trevor Milton, of fraud. In the aftermath of the accusations, Milton departed the company and a major deal with GM fell through.

Nikola denied most of the allegations but said in February that it had determined that Milton made several inaccurate statements following an internal investigation.

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Lordstown Motors plunges 23% after short-seller report says the EV SPAC has ‘no revenue and no sellable product’

Endurance electric pickup truck by Lordstown Motors
The Endurance.

  • Shares of Lordstown Motors fell as much as 23% on Friday after Hindenburg Research revealed it has a short position in the electric-vehicle maker.
  • The research firm said Lordstown has misled investors and has “no revenue and no sellable product.”
  • Shares are down roughly 25% since Lordstown Motors’ public debut via SPAC in October.
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Shares of Lordstown Motors tumbled as much as 23% on Friday after short-seller Hindenburg Research said the electric pickup truck maker has misled investors.

The research firm said it had taken a short position in the Lordstown Motors after determining that it has “no revenue and no sellable product.”

Lordstown’s stock plunged to as low as $13.64 per share on Friday. The company went public via a SPAC in October amid a rush of other EV SPACs including Nikola, Hyliion, Canoo, and Fisker.

Hindenburg slammed Lordstown for misleading investors on both its demand and production capabilities. Lordstown said in January it had received more than more than 100,000 non-binding production reservations from commercial fleets for its EV truck.

“The company has consistently pointed to its book of 100,000 pre-orders as proof of deep demand for its proposed EV truck,” Hindenburg said. “Our conversations with former employees, business partners and an extensive document review show that the company’s orders are largely fictitious and used as a prop to raise capital and confer legitimacy.”

Lordstown Motors is down roughly 25% since its public debut in October.

Screen Shot 2021 03 12 at 10.31.08 AM
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Auto startup Canoo just entered the electric pickup race – here are the coolest features in trucks from Tesla, Rivian, and more

Canoo pickup truck
Canoo says its truck will hit the market in 2023, but preorders will open this year.

  • Electric pickup trucks are set to flood the car market over the next couple of years.
  • Startups and legacy carmakers promise to pack their trucks with innovative features.
  • For example, Bollinger’s B2 will have removable doors, and the GMC Hummer EV will drive diagonally.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Electric-vehicle startup Canoo on Wednesday unveiled an upcoming pickup loaded with fold-out work surfaces, a customizable back seat, and an extendable bed. But it’s not the only carmaker planning an electric truck with unique features.

Established makes like Ford, General Motors, and Tesla – along with upstarts like Rivian and Bollinger – are all racing to introduce battery-powered options to the hugely popular vehicle segment, and they’re trying their best to one-up each other in the process.

From what we know so far, many of these forthcoming EV trucks share some key qualities. With exceptions, they generally claim to pack tons of horsepower, supercar-like acceleration, and a great deal of utility into a sleek, futuristic package.

Read more: REVEALED: How much Tesla, Rivian, and Nikola pay their employees, from engineers to managers

Plus, several companies are looking to set themselves apart from the pack by cramming their trucks with useful and just-plain-cool features – everything from a removable roof to in-truck storage for a slide-out camp kitchen.

Check out some of the wildest features promised in the Rivian R1T, Tesla Cybertruck, Bollinger B2, GMC Hummer EV, Canoo pickup, and Lordstown Endurance below.

Although they’re not on the market just yet, multiple electric pickup trucks are set to take the world by storm over the next couple of years.

Canoo pickup truck
Canoo pickup truck

Electric pickups on the way include the Rivian R1T, Bollinger B1, GMC Hummer EV, Lordstown Endurance, and, of course, the controversially styled Tesla Cybertruck.

The Cybertruck, Tesla's first electric pickup truck, is seen in this undated handout picture released by the company. Tesla/Handout via REUTERS.
The Cybertruck, Tesla’s first electric pickup truck, is seen in this undated handout picture released by the company

We don’t have all the details yet about these trucks, but here are some of the coolest features that will apparently be available.

Rivian R1T
Rivian R1T.

Canoo’s pickup will have a work surface that folds out from its frunk…

Canoo pickup truck
Canoo pickup truck

And tables that fold down from its sides as well.

Canoo truck 1
Canoo pickup truck.

It’ll also have a built-in bed extender that lengthens it from six to eight feet.

Canoo pickup truck
Canoo pickup truck.

Canoo also included a hidden step that makes it easier to access the bed. It’s also a drawer where owners can stash food, drinks, and valuables when out and about.

Canoo pickup truck
Canoo pickup truck.

Rivian’s R1T will feature what the company calls a “gear tunnel,” essentially a long cargo compartment running widthwise through the middle of the truck, behind the rear seats.

Rivian R1T gear tunnel
Rivian R1T.

That tunnel can potentially be customized for lots of different purposes such as a slide-out camp kitchen, which is a $5,000 add-on.

Rivian R1T Camp Kitchen
Rivian R1T.

According to patent filings, the R1T also may have a “swing and drop” tailgate that can fold out to 90 degrees like a standard tailgate, or drop all the way down to 180 degrees for easier access to the bed.

Rivian R1t
Rivian R1T.

Source: Motor Authority

Not to mention, the R1T can spin in place like a tank.

Rivian R1T
Rivian R1T.

Not sure exactly what that tank-turn feature means? 

Fun. That’s what it means. 

The GMC Hummer EV, unveiled in October, promises optional features like an “extract mode” that lifts the vehicle by six inches on demand …

2022 GMC HUMMER EV 038
2022 GMC Hummer EV.

… and a four-wheel-steering system that cuts down its turning radius and lets it drive diagonally.

2022 GMC HUMMER EV 044
2022 GMC Hummer EV.

The Hummer EV also sports a transparent roof made of removable panels.

2022 GMC HUMMER EV 065
2022 GMC Hummer EV.

To help with challenging off-road terrain, customers will be able to opt for underbody cameras …

2022 GMC HUMMER EV 039
2022 GMC Hummer EV.

… as well as underbody armoring to protect the battery and other vulnerable spots.

2022 GMC HUMMER EV 040
2022 GMC Hummer EV.

Tesla’s Cybertruck failed to live up to the hype within minutes of its debut due to its supposedly unbreakable windows, but the model has no shortage of features that’ll be quite exciting – should they come to be.

FILE PHOTO: Nov 21, 2019;  Hawthorne, CA, U.S.A; Tesla CEO Elon Musk unveils the Cybertruck at the TeslaDesign Studio in Hawthorne, Calif. The cracked window glass occurred during a demonstration on the strength of the glass.  Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY
News: Tesla Cybertruck

During the Cybertruck’s reveal event, Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed off a retractable ramp for loading dirt bikes, ATVs, and other cargo into the bed.

Tesla cybertruck ATV

Tesla also claims the retro-futuristic truck will be impervious to dents, scratches, and bullets thanks to a thick, stainless-steel body.

Cybertruck 1
Tesla Cybertruck.

It’ll also purportedly have a transparent roof that can be optioned with solar cells. Musk said on Twitter that the solar-roof option could generate 15-plus miles of charge per day.

Cybertruck 3
Tesla Cybertruck.

Source: Elon Musk on Twitter

Built for utility, the boxy Bollinger B2 doesn’t have much in the way of modern conveniences. It sports manual windows, manual mirrors, analog gauges, and no screens, but it still has a few tricks up its sleeve.

Bollinger Motors B2 driving outdoors
Bollinger B2.

It boasts removable windows, doors, and roof panels.

8 Bollinger Motors B1 glass roof top outdoors
Bollinger B2.

Plus, it will supposedly have a nifty, folding rear-cabin wall, which will make room for bulkier items that won’t fit in the bed.

21 Bollinger Motors B2 side outdoors
Bollinger B2.

Without a pesky engine in the way, the B2 will offer a full-length pass through, which lets owners haul 16-foot-long boards and other cargo.

bollinger pass through

The Lordstown Endurance, meanwhile, claims to have a drivetrain with only four moving parts.

Endurance electric pickup truck by Lordstown Motors
The Endurance.

That’s because it has a hub motor in each wheel.

Lordstown Endurance   Sneak Peek 3
The Endurance.

But while the EV pickups are on the way, they won’t be here right away. Lordstown Endurance, Hummer EV, and R1T deliveries are expected to begin in 2021, while an electric Ford F-150 won’t be around until mid 2022.

Endurance electric pickup truck by Lordstown Motors
The Endurance.

Source: Road & Track

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US EV companies rally after Biden announces electric fleet plans for the federal government

Joe Biden
President Joe Biden waves after being sworn in during his inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2021 in Washington, DC.

  • Shares of American EV manufacturers are roaring higher on Tuesday after President Biden announced the federal fleet is going electric.
  • Shares of Workhorse Group, Nikola, and Lordstown Motors all jumped double digits after the news broke.
  • The US federal fleet is made up of 645,000 vehicles which cost taxpayers some $387 million in fuel costs in 2019.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

US-based EV companies are rallying on Tuesday after President Biden announced the entire federal vehicle fleet will go electric with American-made products.

“The federal government also owns an enormous fleet of vehicles, which we’re going to replace with clean electric vehicles made right here in America, by American workers,” said Biden on Tuesday.

President Biden continued, “this would be the largest mobilization of public investment and procurement, infrastructure and R&D since World War 2.”

Shares of Workhorse Group, Nikola, and Lordstown Motors have all responded, jumping double digits after the announcement.

Read more: MORGAN STANLEY: Buy these 9 sports-betting stocks ahead of the industry’s expected legalization in 12 states this year and its growth to $10 billion in 2025

The US federal fleet comprises 645,000 vehicles, including 245,000 civilian vehicles, 173,000 military vehicles, and 225,000 post office vehicles.

Additionally, according to the Federal Fleet Report, the federal government spent over $386 million on fuel costs to run the fleet in 2019 alone.

The move by the Biden administrations continues the EV boom markets have witnessed over the past few years.

The Global X Autonomous & Electric Vehicles ETF saw 83% returns over the past year, while big names like Tesla have done even better, returning 193% to shareholders during the same period.

Now American EV manufacturers are seeing a spike in share prices after Biden’s announcement. Workhorse Group, Nikola, and Lordstown Motors saw their shares spike as much as 30%, 15%, and 19%, respectively.

Workhorse group may have benefitted more than its peers because the company was already in talks with the USPS to provide delivery vans, but the process stalled. Now investors are hoping the contract will be picked up again, and shares are responding.

Shares of Workhorse traded at $31.62 as of 11:50 am EST, giving the company a $2.98 billion market cap.

While shares of Nikola traded at $23.77 and shares of Lordstown Motors traded at $26.99. 

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