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Electric Truck Startup Lordstown Motors Unveils its Battery-Powered Endurance Pickup

Electric Truck Startup Lordstown Motors Unveils its Battery-Powered Endurance Pickup

Author: Eric Walz   

At a livestream event today, electric vehicle startup Lordstown Motors offically revealed its first vehicle, the fully-electric Endurance pickup truck. 

Lordstown Motors says its America's first all-electric pickup truck, although others are in the works from Ford Motor Co and General Motors, as well as rival EV startup Rivian and Tesla.

Vice President Mike Pence spoke at today's unveiling, touting the return of manufacturing to the Ohio region spearheaded by what he said are innovative companies like Lordstown Motors.

The Endurance pickup is a rugged and fully-electric pickup designed for commercial customers. The Endurance is targeting a commercial market segment currently dominated by the popular Ford F-Series pickups and trucks from General Motors and its truck division GMC. 

Lordstown said the battery-powered Endurance gets the gasoline equivalent of 75 mpg.

"Our goal is to build the first electric pickup truck in the world," said Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns, who drove the Endurance truck onstage with Vice President Mike Pence riding shotgun.

Burns said that Lordstown Motors has already sold out the first production run of 14,000 Endurace pickups that will be built at the former General Motors assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio.

"We've already sold out our first year of production, and we haven't even shown the Truck yet," Burns said right before the truck appeared onstage.

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Vice President Mike Pence spoke at the Endurance unveiling today, touting the return of manufacturing jobs to the Ohio region.

Lordstown is one of the few EV startups that owns an auto factory. The former GM plant is being refitted exclusively for electric vehicle production. So far, Lordstown Motors said it has retooled around 30% of the facility for production of the fully electric Endurance pickup.

Lordstown Motors made headlines last year when its purchased the shuttered the former General Motors assembly plant. However, GM assisted Lordstown with financing, making a $40 million dollar loan available so Lordstown Motors could purchase the sprawling 6 million square foot facility and convert it to produce electric vehicles. 

"GM did us a great service," said Burns about the factory. 

The Detroit automaker, although now a Lordstown Motors rival in the pickup truck segment, left the Lordstown factory somewhat intact in order to help the EV startup retool the factory. GM left behind most of the vehicle production equipment, including the robotic machinery used during vehicle assembly.

The closing of the GM's Lordstown, Ohio auto plant as part of a cost-cutting move made headlines last year, with President Trump publicly criticizing the automaker for closing the plant and displacing over 4,000 workers. Most of the employees however were offered jobs in GM's other production facilities in the area. 

The Endurance Will Have "In-Wheel" Electric Motors

In May, Lordstown Motors announced it signed an exclusive licensing deal with European company Elaphe Propulsion Technologies, a developer of in-wheel electric motors. The in-wheel motors are one of the most unique features of the Endurance.

"The big innovation we have is hub motors." said Burns.

Unlike a typical electric vehicle design found in Tesla's electric vehicles that uses an axle to transfer torque to the wheel hubs, the in-wheel motor design integrates the electric motors into the wheel hub, eliminating the need to use an axle shaft bolted to a wheel hub. 

The L-1500 in-wheel electric motor being used in the Endurance is the most powerful compact in-wheel motor ever produced, according to the manufacturer 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.

"We will have the best traction of any pickup truck ever made. We don't say that lightly." 

Burns also said the Endurance will also be one of the safest pickups ever made, thanks to its lower center of gravity and lack of an forward engine.

"Its a pickup truck that handles like a sports car," Burns said about the Endurance.

Burns added that Lordstown Motors might be able to produce 600,000 electric trucks each year at the former GM facility, since electric trucks require far fewer parts than a conventional combustion engine truck and are much easier to mass produce.

In Feburary, electric utility company FirstEnergy agreed to buy 250 Endurance pickup trucks from the company. The Akron, Ohio-based company plans to add the Endurance pickup trucks to its existing fleet.

"We're going to sell a lot of them," Burns said.

Lordstown Motors is also helping to bring much-needed jobs back to the region. The Ohio manufacturing region being reborn as an electric vehicle production hub and already has a new nickname, "Voltage Valley."

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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