Otago Daily Times

Electric ute among first


LORDSTOWN MOTORS, the plucky electric ute startup that aims to turn an abandoned General Motors plant into a hub of manufactur­ing and technologi­cal leadership, claims to have sold out the first year of production for their Endurance ute — 40,000 presold orders.

Lordstown went from a privately held company with limited means to a publicly traded one this week, listing on the NASDAQ.

Its Ohio plant will begin production of electric utes next September, chief executive Steve Burns told me as we examined a rolling chassis incorporat­ing a convention­al pickup frame and 6048 battery cells in the company’s suburban Detroit engineerin­g centre.

That timing would put it among the first modern EV utes with meaningful sales.

The Endurance will be the first production car or truck with an electric motor in each wheel hub, Burns said.

Hub motors allow for precise control of power and traction, and reduce the number of parts in a vehicle. The other upcoming electric utes have motors mounted on the chassis — similar to the engine of a convention­al car.

The Endurance’s wheel, tyre, brake and motor assemblies each weigh about 32kg and are the result of seven years of developmen­t. The tech centre is tuning the truck’s suspension to account for that mass, which can affect steering and handling.

‘‘We’ve got thousands fewer parts than a convention­al pickup,’’ chief engineer Darren Post said.

The Endurance’s frame — the structure to which the ute wheels, suspension, cab and bed are attached — was engineered and will be supplied by one of the major suppliers that makes frames for large car makers, Burns said.

Endurance prices will start at $US52,500. Slicing off $US7500 with tax rebates available in the US drops the price into the same territory as internal combustion utes.

The Endurance has traditiona­l friction brakes but the great majority of stopping will be done regenerati­vely, routing power back through the hub motors to the battery to increase range.

It will have a 400km range. — TCA

RIVIAN is moving from concept car to reality. The electric ute startup, which has been building its factory in Normal, Illinois, will begin taking orders on its inaugural models next week, with US deliveries starting in June on a special Launch Edition version.

There are three vehicle packages for both the R1T ute and R1S SUV, offered

FORD has unveiled the ETransit, a batteryele­ctric version of its Transit cargo van that marks the car maker’s first commercial electric vehicle offering as it executes a strategy of electrifyi­ng its most popular nameplates.

The ETransit — which has an in nine adventurou­ssounding colours such as Red Canyon, El Cap Granite and Glacier White. All models have 500km of range, go from zero to 100kmh in three seconds and have vegan leather seats.

The launch package starts at $US75,000 for the ute and $US77,500 for the SUV, offset in the US by a $US7500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles.

Customers who preordered can begin configurin­g their vehicle. Rivian requires a refundable $US1000 deposit to order.

Originally set to begin production this year, Rivian was delayed by Covid. In addition to the launch version in June, two other equipment packages will roll off the line in January 2022.

The Adventure will cost the same as the Launch Edition, with similar options, but takes seven months longer for delivery. The Explore has fewer options and starts at $US67,500 for the ute and $US70,000 for the SUV.

Rivian has not announced the delivery date for a base version of the ute and SUV, which will be priced ‘‘substantia­lly lower’’ than the three packages currently offered on the website, spokeswoma­n Amy Mast said.

Legacy and startup car makers alike have hundreds of electric vehicles in the developmen­t pipeline, with industry projection­s that EV sales will surpass traditiona­l internal combustion engines by 2030.

Founded 10 years ago, Plymouth, Michiganba­sed Rivian is building electric utes in a converted Mitsubishi plant, and has raised about $US6 billion from investors.

In addition to the ute and SUV, Rivian is building 100,000 electric vans for Amazon, which are expected to be on the road next year. — TCA

 ?? PHOTOS: TNS ?? The Rivian R1S and R1T (inset).
PHOTOS: TNS The Rivian R1S and R1T (inset).
 ?? PHOTO: TNS ?? The Endurance, the first running version of Lordstown Motors’ electric lightduty ute, outside the company's Detroit engineerin­g centre.
PHOTO: TNS The Endurance, the first running version of Lordstown Motors’ electric lightduty ute, outside the company's Detroit engineerin­g centre.

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