Multiple automakers, big and small, are working on battery-electric pickup trucks, but startup company Lordstown Motors will have something that sets its Endurance pickup apart from the rest—in-wheel electric motors.

Mounting the motors inside the wheel hub frees up space and offers the potential to more precisely control how much torque is sent to a wheel. Torque can be added or subtracted by adjusting the current going to the motor, rather than using the clutch packs, differentials, or brake applications typically used to adjust torque split.

Several companies have developed in-wheel motors, but the technology has received little interest from automakers. One obstacle is the additional unsprung mass of in-wheel motors, which makes tuning ride and handling more difficult. The in-wheel motors also need to be tough, as they can take quite a pounding on rough surfaces.

A new video released by Lordstown earlier in December sets out to demonstrate just how tough its in-wheel motors are—by running a bare chassis of the Endurance over some very rough, cold and wet terrain. Lordstown plans to build its own motors using technology licensed from Slovenia's Elaphe.

Lordstown Endurance

Lordstown Endurance

The Endurance uses a motor at each wheel to create an all-wheel-drive system and generate a combined 600 horsepower. That enables a 7,500-pound towing capacity, but top speed is electronically limited to 80 mph to help maximize range. Lordstown estimates a range of 250 miles for the truck.

Company CEO Steve Burns is featured in the video and states that Lordstown is currently testing alpha prototypes. The next stage will be to test more advanced beta prototypes before moving onto pre-production vehicles and finally production vehicles.

Lordstown currently expects to have production examples of the Endurance rolling out of the company's Lordstown, Ohio, plant in the second half of 2021. Pricing for the Endurance starts at $52,500, and those interested in reserving an early build slot can place a $1,000 refundable deposit through Lordstown's website.

While many in the electric pickup space plan to target lifestyle buyers, Lordstown is aiming the Endurance at commercial fleets. The company claims to have already received thousands of pre-orders from fleet operators looking to reduce their emissions.