Ohio automotive startup Lordstown Motors has unveiled its Endurance electric pickup truck, with help from Vice President Mike Pence who took part in the demonstration.
Pence rode onstage in the passenger seat of the prototype truck at the presentation on Thursday at the company’s plant in Lordstown, Ohio, where full-scale production will begin early next year.
‘It’s a nice ride, and I’m a truck guy,’ Pence commented as he took the podium.
‘After a heartbreaking day in 2019, to see this kind of a comeback – I hope you see it’s a testament to the confidence the people of this company have in the people of this community,’ said Pence, referring to the shuttering of the GM parts factory that now houses Lordstown Motors.
Vice President Mike Pence rode onstage in the passenger seat of the new Endurance electric pickup truck at an unveiling event on Thursday in Lordstown Motors’ Ohio factory
Lordstown CEO Steve Burns introduces Pence at the event. Lordstown hopes to be the first electric pickup to market
‘It’s a nice ride, and I’m a truck guy,’ Pence commented as he took the podium
Founded just last year, Lordstown Motors has ambitious plans to compete with established rivals Ford, General Motors, and Tesla, all of which plan to release electric pickup trucks in the coming years.
Lordstown plans to be the first to hit the market, however, and is already taking orders from fleet customers for its $52,000 Endurance.
Headquartered in an abandoned GM parts plant in northeast Ohio, Lordstown Motors hopes to be the anchor of what it is calling ‘Voltage Valley,’ a hub for electric vehicle and battery manufacturing.
Taking the stage at Thursday’s event, Lordstown CEO Steve Burns touted the Endurance’s innovative in-hub motor design.
Rather than a traditional drive train, the Endurance uses hub motors that independently power each wheel — a design that has been used in heavy machinery and military equipment, but never in a commercial passenger vehicle.
‘Even a Model T had 700 moving parts in its drive train. We have four,’ Burns said, touting the design as both simple and powerful.
‘We will have the best traction of any pickup ever made. We will be the safest pickup truck ever made,’ Burns vowed.
Lordstown is already taking orders from fleet customers for its $52,000 Endurance
Rather than a traditional drive train, the Endurance uses hub motors that independently power each wheel
‘We will have the best traction of any pickup ever made. We will be the safest pickup truck ever made,’ Burns vowed
The Endurance will have a range of 250 miles per charge, a towing capacity of 7,500 pounds, and peak horsepower of 600hp
To fulfill Burns’ vow to bring the first electric pickup truck to market, it will have to race on a very tight timeline
The Endurance will have a range of 250 miles per charge, a towing capacity of 7,500 pounds, and peak horsepower of 600hp.
Earlier this week, Lordstown announced its first fleet customer, after Servepro, a fire and water restoration company, signed a letter of intent to purchase 1,200 Endurance electric pickup trucks. The vehicles will be delivered in early 2021 when full scale production begins.
Also on Thursday, Goodyear Tire & Rubber announced a strategic relationship with Lordstown Motors and said it would acquire new Endurance vehicles for its fleet. Pence said Lordstown has presold 14,000 vehicles.
‘For the folks we sell to, fleets, cost is king,’ Burns said, pointing out that the lifetime costs of the Endurance beat combustion competitors when fuel costs are factored in.
To fulfill Burns’ vow to bring the first electric pickup truck to market, it will have to race on a very tight timeline.
GM plans to build its first electric pickup truck in 2021. Tesla plans to start building its electric Cybertruck in 2021, while Nikola Corp plans to build an electric truck by 2022.
Electric vehicle startup Rivian plans to build an electric pickup truck starting in late 2020, while Ford will introduce an electric F-150 truck in 2022.
All will be competing for a slice of the U.S. pickup market, where last year, there were 2.5 million full-size pickups sold, according to Kelley Blue Book data.
The Lordstown factory in Ohio is located in a former GM parts factory that was shut down in early 2017
The facility hopes to produce as many as 60,000 electric trucks per year when production hits full scale
The new Endurance pickup truck is seen driving inside the company’s factory in Ohio
Independent motors will power each wheel on the Endurance, an innovative design seen in this sketch
Designers are seen working with a clay model of the new Endurance pickup truck
The sprawling former GM plant’s fate became a political lightning rod after the largest U.S. automaker announced its planned closure in November 2018, drawing condemnation from President Donald Trump and many U.S. lawmakers.
On Thursday, the campaign of Trump’s presumptive Democratic rival in the November election, former Vice President Joe Biden, said ‘Trump and GM abandoned Ohio´s union workers.’ The campaign cited a 2017 Trump speech in nearby Youngstown, Ohio, in which Trump said jobs were ‘all coming back’ and urged residents: ‘Don´t move. Don´t sell your house.’
As recently as 2016, the GM plant employed 4,500 workers. Its March 2019 closure was devastating to the area. Lordstown Motors has to date hired just 70 employees and about 100 contractors.
Lordstown Motors, which is 10 percent owned by Workhorse Group, bought the former GM plant and equipment for $20 million as part of its ambitious plan to begin delivering electric pickup trucks to customers by year end – a goal which has since been delayed to January.
State Democratic Chairman David Pepper called Pence’s visit a ‘photo op’ in an area where Trump failed to keep promises to 1,700 GM workers displaced by the former plant’s closure.
GM has since built a battery plant near the Lordstown site, employing 1,100 workers.
Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, who represents the Mahoning Valley, said he welcomes Pence to the region and seeks the administration’s commitment to building a robust electric vehicle market there.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, a Republican, said he and first lady Fran DeWine won’t be visiting with Pence on Thursday because they are avoiding crowds due to the coronavirus.
He said during a briefing with reporters that he has not asked Pence to wear a mask, as the state Health Department advises.
‘I am not going to tell the vice president what to do,’ he said, ‘but this is how we all stay safe and help each other.’