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Behold! The Lordstown Motors Endurance electric truck! I was able to get a firsthand look at a prototype of the new truck today in Montgomery Country, MD. And, before anyone asks, the event was completely outdoors, masks were required, sanitizer was provided, the truck cabin was being sanitized, and folks were keeping a respectful distance.
That's enough of the fine print. What was it like? Well, we didn't get to drive it unfortunately, but the exterior of the truck looked fairly complete and it was better looking in person than in photos, in my opinion. It looked and felt like a work truck. It wouldn't look out of place on a construction site or reading utility meters and that's a good thing since that's the market it is designed to serve. A very lite spec sheet was provided, but subject to change, yada, yada.
The reps onsite did note that there would be a front trunk (frunk), but that we couldn't see it as it's not in the prototype. The charging port was only Level 2 AC but the reps indicated that it will support CCS fast DC charging on the finished model so that will also be changing. There were a lot of items that will or could potentially change between this prototype and the production model which is expected in Q4 of 2021.
The Endurance is unique in that it uses electric hub motors on each wheel. There is no central motor or motors driving the wheels through shafts - the electric motors are embedded into the wheel hub itself. You'll see a couple photos trying to get a peek at those hub motors. You can see a glimpse of high voltage cabling in one photo, but really, the uniqueness of this design doesn't jump out at you from the photos.
The interior was the most pre-production aspect. If you look at the photos closely, you can see gaps, electrical tape and other unpolished bits and pieces as you'd expect to find on a prototype, but overall, I thought the look of the interior lined up well with other work trucks. I had plenty of room inside and it appeared functional from an admittedly non-work truck guy's perspective.
Because the event was hosted by the Montgomery County Division of Fleet Management Equipment Maintenance & Transit Operation Center, transit buses were coming and going during the event. I was surprised to look over and see a Proterra electric bus charger and asked one of the Montgomery County folks about it. Mr. Calvin Jones was exceedingly knowledgeable and gracious enough to speak at length about the efforts Montgomery County is undertaking to test not only Proterra buses, but other alternative fuel vehicles as well. They may also be testing a Ford Mach E with the local police department. West Virginia could learn a few things from Montgomery County!
All in all, a great visit and discussion! There wasn't a large crowd at any one time, but there seemed to be steady flow of visitors pulling up in Teslas and LEAFs. Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Yes, that may sound a little geeky, but Gallium Nitride (GaN) is gaining ground in multiple industries. I first ran across GaN devices in the newest crop of high powered chargers for electronics like cell phones and USB-C laptops/tablets. These new chargers can deliver a lot of power to even large devices and still be kept small and lightweight. They also run cooler and should last longer.
When I first encountered them, I wondered when GaN might make the jump to EVs and it looks like Texas Instruments, the company of calculator fame, is heading in that direction. By using GaN to make EV inverters/converters smaller, lighter, and more efficient, it will improve the one thing we all want more of - EV range! The cost may not be at parity with older silicon or silicon carbide (SiC) tech at the moment, but with scale and the other advantages above, GaN sounds like it will eventually be in all EVs. It could also play a part in shrinking and making fast DC charging equipment more efficient.
Driving the electric vehicle evolution with GaN