By on June 25, 2020

Lordstown Motors

Rivian wants to dazzle you with excessive range and dirt-flinging tank turns. Ford wants you to feel virtuous while behind the wheel of an F-150. General Motors wants to crush things beneath the wheels of the monstrous GMC Hummer EV.

Lordstown Motors’s electric pickup, on the other hand, doesn’t want to be everyone’s best friend. The fledgling automaker, owner of GM’s former Chevy Cruze plant in Northeast Ohio, unveiled its first product Thursday, beating Ford and GM to an electric pickup debut.

We can now see what the Lordstown Endurance looks like. Unabashedly futuristic when viewed from the front, things become just “modern” when the camera pans along the sides and around the back. Through those wheel spokes, four hub motors can bee seen. These in-wheel units are Lordstown’s saving grace, CEO Steve Burns suggested during the model’s online reveal.

Lordstown Motors

Hub motors are simple hardware, affording the Endurance an ease of construction and lowered build cost when compared to rivals. As well, the hub motors means a lower center of gravity and less sprung weight, aiding handling. The expected 250-mile maximum range won’t leave the likes of Rivian and GM (at the very least; Ford’s coy about specs) sweating pensively in their beds at night, but it’s still a healthy range that should satisfy many customers.

Especially if those customers are fleet operators.

That seems to be where Lordstown sees the bulk of its future customers, if not all of them. Lately, the automaker has earmarked future deliveries to various fleets, the most recent one being Goodyear Tire & Rubber’s servicing fleet.

Sitting atop a limited cash pile (it won’t say how limited) gained through fundraising efforts earlier this year, Lordstown put much of its resources into developing the Endurance’s drivetrain. That means the interior won’t wow anyone. Leather is out, Burns said. It’s possible retail customers might not be able to get their hands on one.

“Since we’re small, we’re not trying to be all things to all people,” he said.

Lordstown Motors

What Lordstown is trying to be is a stand-in for conventional full-size pickups in a company’s fleet inventory. It’s the same basic size as your typical pickup. It dispenses with radical thinking in terms of body envelope or bed dimensions. There’s power ports for job site electricity needs. Let the Tesla fans have their way-out Cybertruck. Oh yeah, that’s another challenger I forgot to mention.

Detailed specs for the Endurance are not available at the present time, and yet the automaker plans to kick off production in January 2021. Some 600 workers will need to be hired between now and then. Lordstown Motors envisions 20,000 builds in the truck’s first year of existence.

Can the company pull it off? That’s the question everyone’s asking.

Lordstown Motors

[Images: Lordstown Motors]

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20 Comments on “Endurance, by Lordstown: The Electric Pickup That’s Not for Everyone...”

  • avatar

    Actually wheel motors have MORE UNsprung weight.
    Which is a negative for handling.
    If you were copying that justification from a press release, they are using a flawed argument.

    However there may be other good reasons to use wheel motors.
    Let the road tests begin

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Beat me to it.

      Maybe the extra sprung weight won’t make a difference since it’s not a sports car.

      IMO, I’d be nervous about having high voltage wiring flopping around at each wheel, not to mention the dirt and moisture exposure. Yes, other applications have met these challenges (robotics), but doing so at a price point in a consumer application seems risky.

      • 0 avatar

        Shifting weight from the body to the unsprung will help handling, except for the extra rebound on bumps, but shock tuning can minimize that.

        • 0 avatar

          If that was true, wouldn’t race cars like Indy and F-1 that use ballast to meet a minimum weight regulation put it in the wheels? I’ve always seen the ballast low in the chassis tub.

          • 0 avatar

            Years ago they used to have inboard brakes to save weight at the end of the suspension arms to reduce unsprung weight. There were issues with braking performance doing that which is part of the reason they don’t still do that.

            Think of it this way. Would you rather have another human in the cockpit of your Miata, or an extra 50# in each wheel? When that extra 50# hits a bump, that energy is absorbed by the chassis. Too much rebound damping and the whole chassis is jarred. Not enough and the wheel bounces up into the wheel well to the bump stops, jarring the chassis. Just enough damping and you could end up lifting a tire momentarily as your chassis leans into a corner.

            Weight in the wheels is just a bad idea for good handling.

            Perhaps the contributor that used to write about such things can chime in?

    • 0 avatar

      I looked into the design of these wheel motors (which are sub-ed out to Eliphe Propulsion) and I wouldn’t expect them to weigh any more than the solid front and rear axles found on most 4×4 trucks which are no longer required for this configuration. This does open up the design for better suspension geometry compared to traditional trucks… maybe.

    • 0 avatar

      Axles save weight by not needing to be as strong. I have no idea how much.

      Can axles and suspension bits also be simpler, thus lighter?

      I don’t know enough to say one way or the other, but I don’t think it’s obvious either way.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      As it is 2020, it would probably be easy to simply use a lighter wheel and get the whole assembly somewhat close to a normal truck rim’s weight.

      I wasn’t aware manufacturers were concerned with unsprung weight, given the ever growing size of rims. My Fiesta ST, a car known to be built for habndling rocks rims that weigh 22 pounds a piece. It is a trend that has gotten stupid.

      • 0 avatar

        I think that the in-wheel motors will certainly be heavier than the standard ICE wheel hub and brake rotor combination. And that’s detrimental to handling, because of the unsprung mass, and to acceleration and braking, because of the rotating mass. But I think we should remember that the standard hub and brake rotor do weigh something, so the trade is perhaps not as bad as we might fear.

  • avatar

    “and yet the automaker plans to kick off production in January 2021.”

    I plan to marry a supermodel in January 2021.

  • avatar

    Lordstown has a brighter future as a permanent repository for nuclear waste.

  • avatar

    Fleet local delivery or local maintenance companies and metro area taxis are the true and reasonable use for battery-electric vehicles. Workhorse, a company with a piece of Lordstown Motors, already produces electric delivery vehicles and has done so for some time. This outfit may never be the top seller of this type vehicle but they’ll probably sell quite a few. Good for them.

  • avatar

    Hey, check it out. A new competitor was just introduced and… (checking again)… yes, I’m *completely unharmed*!

    Choice is good. Competition makes things better. Bring it on.

  • avatar

    As a kid, I grew up in iron ore mining country. Euclid dump trucks had wheel motors powered by a diesel generator, so wheel motor tech has been developed for a LONG time.

    I like their approach, but don’t know if the market will reward a simple approach.

    • 0 avatar

      In-wheel motors are central to the proposed EV designs of Lightyear and the reborn (?) Aptera.

      I look forward to seeing how they work out for Lordstown, if only as a proof-of-concept.

  • avatar

    If they are going after the fleet market, the truck is still short on range. The fleet market also means slimmer margins and less chance to up-sell pricy options.

  • avatar

    The front end looks like Elmer Fudd, sucking on a lemon. A bit more traditional inspiration to the look would go a long way.
    And what is up with the pumpkin orange behind the wheels? It does highlight the difference between this truck and everything else, but that’s not really necessary. That color goes with nothing. Yellow, red or blue would be better.
    Other than that, this should be very interesting to watch.

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