Full 360-degree truck reveal video below.
It started as a rendering — an idea of an all-electric, full-size pickup truck designed specifically for fleets and commercial users — that turned into a steady stream of preorder announcements and supplier integrations. Then prototypes appeared in the wild, onstage at the official factory launch, and even on the lawn of the White House.
In terms of being able to truly kick the tires and test drive Lordstown Motor’s electric Endurance, we’re not there yet — but we’re tantalizingly closer. Bobit fleet editors recently connected with Lordstown Motors executives at the company’s new facility in Irvine, Calif., for a company update and to get up close and personal with the Endurance Alpha truck.
Jeff Kenny, director of corporate sales and strategy; Brittney Burns, director of marketing; Michael Stafford, sales director for the Western region; and Luke Tatman, west coast sales representative, were on hand.
Owing to the Alpha truck’s job as a test mule, the Lordstown group stressed that this version is hand-built and specifically lacks common functions, while the fit and finish are not indicative of the final product. However, the overall design and dimensions will carry over to the production vehicle, Kenny said.
We got a chance to climb through the Alpha truck and take video. Yet as the truck is not yet street legal, and owing to COVID-19, we declined a minimal drive around the parking lot.
Company and Fleet Updates
The company is still on track to begin deliveries in mid-September. This new target was iterated last October, an update from an expected launch in January 2021. Full production will ramp up in 2022. While Lordstown’s initial goal was 20,000 units in its first 12 months of assembly, the company is anticipating it will exceed that target, Kenny said.
Lordstown now counts 100,000 preorders from commercial customers to date, which does not account for interest from government and military fleets that are not in position to place preorders. With an average of 600 units per fleet, initial orders include ServPro (1,200 units), Clean Fuels Ohio (250), and Ohio-based utility company First Energy, among others.
Earlier this month, Mike Albert Fleet Solutions announced an agreement with Lordstown for delivery of “a significant quantity” of pickups for its clients. This week, Merchants Fleet announced a partnership with Lordstown for the fleet management company’s new electrification initiative.
With the fleet preorders, Lordstown is foregoing retail sales for the foreseeable future. Sold orders won’t flow through a traditional dealer base, though the exact process of getting them to fleets is “a work in progress,” Kenny said, noting the varying automotive sales and franchise laws by state.
ARI, Holman Enterprises’ fleet management division, will provide fleet management services and vehicle supply chain logistics for Endurance customers. Holman’s Auto Truck Group will provide specialized equipment and upfits.
The rollout of trucks to fulfill those preorders won’t be defined by when those orders were made, Kenny said. Rather, Lordstown is looking holistically to work with customers to deploy trucks in smaller batches where they can be adequately serviced.
The Irvine facility, Lordstown’s first outside Ohio, will house a service center for commercial customers as well as space for engineers building Endurance’s infotainment center.
Lordstown has struck a deal with Camping World to use its 170 U.S. service and collision centers with specifically trained technicians on hand for the Endurance. That agreement also entails mobile servicing.
Inside the Endurance
The Lordstown Endurance is a full-size, all-electric pickup with an anticipated range of 250 miles, a tow rating of 7,500 lbs., and the equivalent of 600 hp. Endurance will be priced at $52,5000 before the $7,500 federal rebate.
This Alpha truck has already gone through thousands of miles of testing, according to Kenny. The company has moved past Alpha stage and is now producing Beta prototypes for further validations, which may include fleet customers.
Lordstown has a parts supply agreement with General Motors, and as a rough guide, the truck’s dimensions are “Chevy Silverado inspired.” This is perhaps in deference to its GM factory roots in Lordstown, Ohio, though Endurance shares no design elements with the Silverado. The Alpha, like the initial sales version, is a crew cab configuration with a 5-ft., 6-in. bed.
The Endurance is all truck — if the impressive capabilities come to fruition in the real world — but with a genre-bending design. Thankfully, the rear of the truck has built-in bed steps on the left and right of a conventional tailgate. Yet overall, the truck won’t be confused with any pickup model on the road today.
Without a radiator, the truck’s flat, opaque nose forces us to rethink the “horns on my Silverado grill,” as Big & Rich sang. Endurance’s thin, wraparound front and rear lights continue into black accent trim that feel less truck and more sportscar inspired. Our walkthrough was street-visible, and one pickup driver called out histrionically on the truck. We don’t know what he said, but it’s the emotion that counts.
Inside, Kenny noted the truck’s instrument cluster and infotainment center will be usurped by Lordstown’s proprietary system for production. A large storage compartment and cupholders occupy the space between the driver and front passenger. Gears are shifted by a rotary knob on the storage configuration. The backseat seemed slightly smaller than a Ford F-150 SuperCrew, though the seating is ample for a crew of four.
Without an internal combustion engine, the truck will provide extra storage under the hood (though the Alpha hood didn’t open). The charging port will move from near the driver’s front quarter panel to the truck front for production. The truck bed has a 110-v outlet to power tools.
Copper-colored hubcaps draw attention to the electric “hub motors,” one at each wheel. This alleviates the need for wheel axles and a transmission, and it allows the drivetrain to function with only four moving parts.
Kenny said the independent motors will improve driving characteristics with more torque and a tighter turning radius. By how much? Will the lack of moving parts turn technicians into the Maytag repairman? We’ll have to wait closer to production launch to find out.
Watch our exclusive 360-degree truck reveal video below.