2023 Lordstown Endurance Review: Underdog exceeds expectations
Cinderella is parked beneath a little white tent in the parking lot of Weber’s Inn in Ann Arbor, Michigan, surrounded by dozens of stepsisters. Not evil stepsisters, but certainly much richer ones. This parking lot is ground zero for test drives of the 26 candidates for the 2023 North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year, judged by 50 independent journalists from the U.S. and Canada.
Cinderella is an electric pickup truck, the Lordstown Endurance. It has four doors and is painted white with a black interior, which is pretty much the ideal spec for what this rig is meant to be: a fleet vehicle. The Endurance is made to work and work hard, built at the former Lordstown General Motors plant in Lordstown, Ohio. You may recall that this facility was shuttered by GM after years of building Chevrolet Cobalts and HHRs, after which time it was bought and reopened by Lordstown Motors.
The odds of the Lordstown Endurance being voted North American Truck of the Year are long, as the very fancy Ford Lightning likely has it in the bag. But the Lordstown Endurance is here, and of such interest to journalists that reservations were required for a 30-minute drive. Chi Yip, a mechanical engineer who worked on the Ford F-150 and Transit before joining Lordstown as the director of vehicle integration, knows the company is facing an uphill battle against giants, but the challenge appeals to him. “I like the idea of building something from scratch,” he says.
So does Darren Post, who spent 30 years at General Motors before joining Lordstown as chief engineer. “With the fleet and commercial aspect, we are developing a niche,” he says. “And we have a product that’s different from anyone else’s.”
Indeed they do. The Lordstown Endurance, instead of being powered by one or two electric motors, has four, one at each wheel. Very visible through the spokes of the wheel is a big drum; that’s the motor, identical at all four corners. The regenerative brakes are inside the motors. Four-wheel-drive, all the time.
Inside, the Lordstown Endurance is plain-Jane. Front seats are comfortable and snug enough, whereas the back seat is thinly padded and a bit too upright. Controls are simple and straightforward, and yes, there is both air conditioning and a stereo.
2023 Lordstown Endurance
- Price: $64,000 (est.)
- Powertrain: Four wheel-in-hub motors; 109kWh lithium-ion battery
- Output: 440 hp; 4971 lb-ft (claimed, likely a multiplication of final drive)
- Layout: Four-door, body-on-frame pickup truck
- Weight: 6450 lbs.
- Range: 200 miles
- 0–60 mph: 6.3 seconds
- Top Speed: 118 mph
- Rivals: Ford F-150 Lightning, Rivian R1T, Chevy Silverado EV
Outside, the body is steel and aluminum, and at present you can have any color you want so long as it’s white. Situated beneath the body is a 109 kW-hour lithium-ion battery. A DC fast charger will take it from 20 to 80 percent in 45 minutes. Range is 200 miles, horsepower is 440. Lordstown claims a top speed of 118 mph and a 0-to-60 mph time of 6.3 seconds. Like most all electric vehicles, it’s heavy at 6450 pounds. It can, however, tow 8000 pounds.
On the road, the Lordstown Endurance just feels like an electric truck; nothing would tell you that it’s powered by four hub motors. It’s quiet, with a trace of whine from the motors. It moves along at a smooth clip—very buttoned-down. Honestly, it’s much better sorted and fully realized than I was expecting.Despite that, the Lordstown Endurance has a tough road ahead. Ford is doubling down on the fleet market for its electric F-150 Lightning, and while no one at Lordstown wanted to go on the record regarding the Endurance’s ultimate price, rumors are that it might cost about $64,000. That’s more than a fleet Ford, which starts at about $40,000. Lordstown is actively building trucks, but the initial plan is to lease them to customers rather than sell them outright.
Lordstown Motors bought the GM Lordstown plant in 2019, but earlier this year, sold the plant, but not the company, to Taiwan-based Foxconn. Yes, the company that builds iPhones in China. Foxconn has big plans to build electric vehicles globally, producing, the company chairman said, five percent of the world’s electric vehicles by 2025, and eventually 40 to 45 percent of the electric vehicles—about the same share it has of the smartphone business.
That leaves Lordstown Motors as a tenant in its own plant, with Foxconn agreeing to build its truck for some undisclosed period of time. One of the prototype electric vehicles Foxconn has shown is an electric four-wheel-drive pickup developed in Taiwan, completely different from the Lordstown Endurance. And Foxconn has already cut a deal with Fisker to build a small car at Lordstown. Foxconn has no interest in building Foxconn-branded vehicles; it plans to exclusively produce electric vehicles for other companies.
Back in Ann Arbor, Lordstown Motors will literally fold its white tent today and head back to Ohio. The little company put on a good show, holding the attention of journalists who walked by vehicles from Rivian, BMW, Genesis, Lexus, Cadillac, and Volvo to drive a longshot. Everybody loves a Cinderella story.
2023 Lordstown Endurance
Price: $64,000 (est.)
Highs: Smooth powertrain. Impressive wheel-in-hub motor setup. Clean interior design.
Lows: High price compared to F-150 Lightning. Uncertain manufacturing future
Takeaway: A pleasant, surprisingly polished EV fleet truck, especially from a startup company on such seemingly rocky footing.