As GM plant closes, locals are keen to learn more about Tesla
In November, GM announced plans to stop producing most of its sedans and close down five North American factories, including a plant in Lordstown, Ohio that produces the doomed Chevrolet Cruze. Some have speculated that Tesla might be interested in buying some of the soon-to-be-shuttered plants, perhaps repeating the coup the company scored when it purchased its Fremont factory from Toyota for a song in 2010. Elon Musk and Ohio Governor John Kasich batted the possibility around on Twitter, but GM CEO Mary Barra recently threw cold water on the idea, saying that Tesla wouldn’t want to buy a unionized factory.
Above: Tesla's Model S (Image: EVANNEX)
It remains to be seen whether a Tesla takeover of GM’s Lordstown Complex is a realistic possibility or not. However, it’s safe to assume that folks who live in the area of the plant, which employs some 4,500 people (nearly 1,000 more than live in the village of Lordstown) are deeply concerned about its future, and many are interested in learning more about Tesla.
“After GM builds its last Cruze in Lordstown, no one knows what will come next,” says news anchor Dave Sess of Youngstown TV station WKBN in in a recent segment. “The automaker does plan a shift into electric cars, though. I found a local Tesla driver and wondered what an all-electric car was like on the road, so I went for a ride with him to find out.”
Above: New Castle resident Russ Carley talks about his Tesla (Youtube: WKBN27)
New Castle resident Russ Carley is a high-mileage driver - he put 100,000 miles on two Toyota Prii before ordering his Model S in July 2017. He says he had to wait 14 months for delivery, but so far he’s a happy customer - he loves “the smoothness, the modern technology and all the whizzes and bangs and bells,” and finds that “for all the miles I drive, [it is] really cost-effective.”
Regular readers of this column may smile at the gee-whiz tone of WKBN’s report, but keep in mind that it’s aimed at viewers who may be entirely unfamiliar with Tesla, and may not even be aware that an electric car is a viable option. “There’s plenty of mystique when you see a Tesla on the road,” says WKBN’s Sess. “It’s so quiet you only hear the tires on the road.”
Above: GM's Lordstown plant that built Chevy's Cruze (Image: Paddock Chevrolet)
Carley bought his Tesla for its cutting-edge technology, and he loves it when people recognize the car. He believes electric cars are the wave of the future, and that building them could be a long-term answer for the workers of Lordstown.