Endurance, by Lordstown: The Electric Pickup That’s Not for Everyone

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.

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.

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. Let the Tesla fans have their Cybertruck. Oh yeah, that’s another one 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.

a version of this article first appeared on TTAC

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