Lordstown Motors Signs Licensing Deal With Elaphe Propulsion Technologies for In-Wheel Motors for its Electric Endurance Pickup
Electric truck startup Lordstown Motors Corp (LMC), a company that's targeting the commercial truck market with its fully-electric vehicles, announced that its signed an exclusive licensing deal with Elaphe Propulsion Technologies, a developer of in-wheel electric motors.
Ohio-based LMC is a manufacturer (OEM) of light duty electric fleet vehicles. The company was founded by CEO Steve Burns with the purpose of transforming Ohio's Mahoning Valley and Lordstown, Ohio into the epicenter of electric-vehicle manufacturing.
LMC moved into the former General Motors Lordstown assembly factory after GM shuttered the facility when it stopped making the Chevy Cruze.
Elaphe is a Ljubljana, Slovenia-based developer of high-tech propulsion technology for the auto industry. The company will supply its Model L-1500 Endurance In-Wheel Motor which will be used in the Lordstown Endurance pickup.
LMC's Endurance electric pickup is being purposefully designed to serve the commercial truck market as the first production vehicle that utilizes a 4-wheel-drive hub-motor system, a design that reduces the number of moving parts.
In addition to providing the technology for the in-wheel hub motors, Elaphe will also provide engineering support, technical assistance and consulting services.
"Our relationship with Elaphe goes back over a decade, and their commitment to Lordstown Motors Corp. and passion for the Lordstown Endurance is stronger than ever," said Burns.
"The caliber of work they've produced is some of the best and most innovative in the industry; we're proud of the work we've done together up to this point and enthusiastic about what's to come."
To make production more efficient, the in-wheel motors for Lordstown vehicles will be built by its own employees at the company's Ohio headquarters.
Initial set-up of the 20,000 square foot production line, which Elaphe will help manage and support, has already begun at the Lordstown factory. Lordstown Motors will begin using the new lines within the next 6 months for beta testing and pre-production vehicles.
The project is expected to take 9 months to reach full production capacity.
In-Wheel Electric Motors
Unlike a typical electric vehicle design found in Tesla models that used an axle to transfer torque to the wheel hubs, the in-wheel motor design integrates the electric motors into the wheel hubs and doesn't require the use of an axle shaft bolted to a wheel hub.
The L-1500 in-wheel electric motor is the most powerful compact in-wheel motor ever produced, according to Elaphe. Each 370 volt electric motor produces a continuous torque of 650 Nm (480 ft lbs), with a peak power output of 110 kW (~150 horsepower), without using any gears. The L1500 in-wheel motor is compatible with all drive layouts, such as rear wheel drive, front wheel drive and four-wheel drive vehicles.
Elaphe's in-wheel motor also includes an integrated standard disc brake, a standard outer caliper and a standard hub bearing. It's built for high-power requirements.
"While most vehicle manufacturers are focusing merely on catching up and competing with legacy electric powertrain technologies pioneered decades ago by pure-EV OEMs, Lordstown is making a giant leap forward by building its vehicles around the needs of their users and not around the traditional powertrain-integration-imposed tradeoffs," says Gorazd Lampič, Elaphe CEO.
"We strongly believe that the packaging, modularity, redundancy and advanced functions of vehicle control that Elaphe hub motors enable are key to delivering torque in the way a true 4WD should be done."
LMC is among a new crop of electric truck startups including Rivian, Nikola Motor Company and Workhorse Group that are looking to transform the traditional gas-powered pickup truck and SUV, two of the most popular vehicle categories in the U.S. LMC however, is targeting the commercial market with its Endurance pickup.
Some of these new EV startups are forming partnerships with automakers to jumpstart the development of fully-electric vehicles.
Both the Ford Motor Company and e-commerce giant Amazon are investors in Rivian. Amazon ordered 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian that it will use as part of its fleet. Ford tapped Rivian to co-develop its first electric model under the luxury Lincoln nameplate, however that agreement was axed eariler this month due to the coronavirus pandemic and uncertain economic climate.
Electric automaker Tesla is also getting inot the eletric truck segment with its Cybertruck.
LMC is one of the few EV startups with its own assembly factory. The company announced in Nov 2019 it acquired GM's former 6.2 million square foot Lordstown assembly plant in Lordstown.
A year earlier, the Detroit-based automaker announced plans to close four U.S. plants including its Lordstown facility, which produced the Chevy Cruze. The move was part of GM's shift to building more profitable SUVs and pickups and trim expenses.
GM made a $40 million loan available to LMC to help the budding start-up buy its shuttered plant in order to start building electric trucks. The Endurance pickup will be manufactured and assembled at the Lordstown Facility.
General Motors sold its shuttered Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant to Lordstown Motor Corp in 2019. The factory is being converted to build electric vehicles.
Lordstown engineers have set out to re-invent the electric vehicle. LMC said it set out with a goal to make its Endurance pickup truck the safest, most economical, and greenest electric pickup truck ever built.
The Lordstown Endurance is engineered to be lightweight, with all-wheel drive and a low center of gravity, while maintaining sufficient ground clearance. The electric trucks are also more reliable with lower maintenance costs compared to traditional pickup trucks, making it an ideal vehicle for fleet use.
The Endurance pickup is designed with fleet friendly features, such as an onboard power generator that allows workers to use power tools at the job site without the need for a portable generator or leaving the truck running.
Elaphe Propulsion Technologies was founded in 2006 with a mission to bring in-wheel powertrain solutions to the automotive mass market. A major part of Elaphe's portfolio is its high torque-density in-wheel propulsion technology. The patented in-wheel electric motors can be tailored to fit most vehicle configurations, seamlessly integrating with most vehicle suspension and steering setups.
In addition to being a supplier, Elaphe supports licensing its technology, so OEMs can take advantage of the company's internal manufacturing capacity to produce powertrains for their own vehicle programs.
Financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed.
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