The SUV and pickup truck segment has been rejuvenated with the arrival of electric powertrains. We have seen the launch of multiple electric vehicles or EVs last year, including the hugely popular Hummer EV pickup truck, which will be available to the customers starting Fall 2021.
Then there’s the Tesla Cybertruck which was revealed in November 2019 but is yet to formally go into production or reach stores. Some estimates say that initial deliveries may occur as early as late 2021, but that seems less likely with each passing day.
In the midst of these juggernauts, there’s also a brand called Lordstown Motors which unveiled its electric pickup truck, the Endurance. However, the Lordstown Endurance is yet to reach customers, and the company is only taking pre-registrations as of now, which doesn’t necessarily translate into actual sales. We’ll have more on this later.
There has been some ambiguity about the hardware it’s packing despite the formal unveiling in June of last year, which included guests such as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Energy Secretary Dan Broulliette. The Lordstown Assembly Plant/factory is situated in Lordstown, Ohio, under CEO Steve Burns.
Keeping this in mind, we’re going to take a look at some of the specs and rumors surrounding Lordstown Endurance, including some controversies that the startup has been involved in so far.
What We Know About the Lordstown Endurance So Far
Lordstown Motors currently runs out of the same assembly plant in Ohio that previously belonged to General Motors. Interestingly, GM has invested around $75 million in Lordstown. Steve Burns is the former CEO of Workhorse Group, which is based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. This company is known for its electric utility and delivery vehicles, so Burns was coming in with some experience in the EV industry.
What’s unique about the Lordstown Motors Endurance is the fact that it uses four in-wheel hub motors, which in the company’s words will enhance the control of the pickup truck while also decreasing the number of moving parts in the EV.
It’s worth mentioning here that although several manufacturers have shown off concepts EVs with hub motors, none have actually made it to the market. This makes the task for Lordstown Motors even harder, though not unachievable.
Lordstown Motors has also shared that the Endurance will be sold in a four-wheel-drive config, making it capable of handling tricky road situations. The company claims that the powertrain used here should generate up to 600 horsepower and touching a top speed of up to 80 mph.
This is somewhat of a downgrade compared to the rumored top-speed of the Tesla Cybertruck, with the single-motor version reportedly capable of reaching 110 mph. The manufacturer will also use custom in hub motor brakes for maximum braking efficiency.
We also like the fact that the Endurance will be capable of receiving OTA (over-the-air) updates with new features. This makes it somewhat similar to Tesla and GMC’s trucks, though we’re yet to get a better understanding of how this will work.
The battery on the Endurance can be reportedly charged from 20 to 80 percent within 10 hours using a Level 2 11-kW AC power adapter. Alternatively, a level 3 DC fast charging can allow the truck to be recharged in 30 to 90 minutes.
The Lordstown Motors website states that the Endurance will sport a 109 kWh battery pack which can reportedly offer 250+ miles of range as per the EPA cycle. Given that the truck is yet to make its way to reach customers, it’s too soon to tell if this is accurate. This is comparable with the Tesla Cybertruck based on the rumored range of 250 miles for its single motor RWD model.
This is an area where Lordstown Motors has taken an unconventional approach. While the seats and spacing are adequate, the Endurance comes with a single horizontal screen that stretches until the middle of the dashboard. Some analog controls are provided below that for a mix of modern and minimalist design principles.
This makes sense, given that Lordstown Motors wants to market the Endurance as a work truck that can be used in commercial fleets. Barring some pictures, we haven’t received a lot of details about the interiors of the Lordstown Endurance. Oddly, the company didn’t reveal interior images during the unveiling event in June either.
The towing capacity of the truck is said to be 7,500 lbs, which is on par with most ICE pickup trucks running in the market, though certainly not the best. For example, Tesla has claimed that the tri-motor version of the Cybertruck can tow up to 14,000 pounds, though it’s yet to be tested out in the real world.
This pickup truck will be available for a base price of $52,500, while federal and local taxes (if applicable) will take the cost down further. The company claims that this truck will be eligible for up to $7,500 in federal tax credit.
There’s currently no indication of Lordstown bringing additional variants of the Endurance to the market. However, if the company wants to grow, this plan cannot be ruled out.
Though the company initially promised to start delivering pickups to fleet customers by “early 2021”, the date has come and gone at this point. The company has now pushed the launch date to September 2021, which seems fairly optimistic given Lordstown’s history with timelines. It’s likely that the EV will reach the streets by early 2022, going by the pace of production right now. The company has previously said that it will ramp up production of the pickup by 2022.
Some analysts have criticized Lordstown Motors for allegedly hyping up the pre-orders count. However, the CEO Steve Burns has countered that by saying the number was never meant to be misleading while assuring that more clarity will be provided soon. These allegations were made by renowned short-seller Hindenburg Research. The company later came out with a statement saying, “We will be sharing a full and thorough statement in the coming days, and when we do we will absolutely be refuting the Hindenburg Research report.”
Then there was the incident in January this year wherein the pickup was caught engulfed in flames, with the fire department having to extinguish the fire. At the time, it was said that the prototype of the Endurance was going out on a road test with three people on board, including the person driving it. As per the report by the onsite fire department personnel, magnesium was discovered “from the water reaction below the rear seats in the passenger compartment.”
The company said around in March that this was the result of a “human error,” indicating that this was an assembly-related issue. Lordstown added that the process had since been automated to avoid such fire incidents in the future.
Investigations revealed that this was indeed a “Mule,” which is a name given to an early prototype in the auto industry. Lordstown Motors’ R&D headquarters is located in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and the fire incident took place nearby at 12 Mile Road. The charred truck has since been handed over to the company by the local officials. This being Lordstown’s very first product was certainly not a good look for the startup either.