Lordstown Motors may not be a household name just yet, but that won't last long if the startup's newly-debuted electric pickup beats competitors from Ford, GM, and Tesla to production. The startup revealed a prototype of its Endurance pickup truck at a highly publicized event this week with Vice President Mike Pence and US Secretary of Energy, Dan Brouillette, in attendance. Although many details about the Endurance are still unknown, the automaker shared some new information about the vehicle's design and its lofty goal to get it into production.
Founded in 2019, Lordstown Motors is a new player on the scene with the Endurance being its sole product. The startup isn't coming completely out of left-field, however. Lordstown was founded as a spinoff from Workhorse, a manufacturer of electric trucks for commercial fleets. Lordstown Motors currently has a small footprint (100 employees) inside the Lordstown, Ohio plant that GM used to occupy before shuttering in 2020.
The Endurance prototype is geared towards commercial fleets without the bells and whistles of many consumer-focused trucks on the market. In contrast to the luxurious interiors of these trucks, the benefits of the Endurance include utilitarian efficiency and reliability, along with sports-car-like driving dynamics. Along with a 250-mile range on a full-charge, Lordstown Motors, CEO, Steve Burns told CNET that drivers can expect a fun experience behind the wheel.
"We designed the suspension and the chassis for the hub [motors] from the ground up, and as a result, we have a pickup truck that handles like a sports car. The electric hub motors put weight on the ground at all four corners to create a pickup that should handle well, while keeping the characteristics of a traditional pickup" said Burns.
While most specs remain undisclosed including the truck's official power output, towing, and payload numbers, based on previous performance estimates, the Endurance is expected to get 600-horsepower, and a 7,500-lb towing capacity. Additionally, Lordstown Motors revealed that the Endurance will be the first commercial truck to feature four in-wheel hub motors. This allows for the ability to deliver different torque to each wheel to help with difficult driving conditions. It also reduces the number of moving parts for fewer maintenance costs and lower cost of ownership.
At the reveal event, US Secretary of Energy, Dan Brouillette, spoke about the future landscape of electric vehicles and emphasized the importance of energy independence for initiatives like Lordstown's Endurance. Currently, the United States relies on China for 80% of the rare earth minerals for the production of the motors and batteries in electric vehicles. The Department of Energy is investigating the possibility of sourcing these minerals from reserves in Appalachia.
Lordstown Motors is in good company when it comes to electric truck production plans. Ford and GM are in the process of developing electric pickups, Tesla's Cybertruck made headlines with its futuristic design, and startup, Rivian, is also working on an electric truck. Although Lordstown claims the Endurance will not directly compete with consumer brands because of the truck's commercial focus, being the first electric pickup to market will undoubtedly be an advantage.
The Endurance truck's surprisingly competitive starting price of $52,500 will be another selling point, along with low fuel and maintenance costs as outlined in the side-by-side comparison against the Ford F-150 Lariat 4WD. Production is expected to begin in January of 2021 with delivery to fleet customers expected in early 2021, followed by other customers in late 2021. You can watch the full reveal here.