LORDSTOWN – Lordstown Motors Corp. CEO Steve Burns was asked more about his start-up and first offering, the Endurance Truck – from its looks and towing capacity to battery life and growth opportunities for the company trying to revolutionize the electric truck market.
The questions did not come from auto industry analysts, investors, or even clients, but from junior high and high school students in Lordstown.
“For you young people, think about what the future will be like” Burns said. “If you’re in seventh grade now, electric cars will do just about anything on the road. At least when it comes to buying a new vehicle, that’s all there will be. “
Burns on Tuesday spent about 30 minutes with the group talking about the truck and its mechanics, his company culture and the youth movement, and he even gave a little physics lesson.
Sophomore Caden Minor asked what the towing capacity of the truck was. He wanted to know this because his family are involved in clay racing and often haul heavy trailers.
“We always have to haul big trailers and stuff like that, and I was curious about that,” Minor, 16, said. “If you have a heavy trailer on it, what is it going to do?” Will he die faster? Is it going to suck the life out of this battery? And just to see how it compares to a brand new regular truck. “
The Endurance has a towing capacity of 7,500 pounds. It has a range of at least 250 miles and the gasoline equivalent of 75 mpg.
“After 95 years of development and countless billions of engineering and production hours, the best the world can do is a 15 mpg pickup truck,” Burns said. “And that’s because they’re stuck, they’re stuck in the laws of physics. I have often hit my head against physics and I always lose. “
The company operates out of the former General Motors assembly complex it bought and is preparing to launch Endurance in September. If the company is successful, it would be the first electric pickup to hit the market.
“How can a small business in Lordstown, Ohio be the first and there really is only one answer. These are our people, ” Burns said. “We have 500 people there who believe deeply, deeply, that we’re going to make history there.”
A white and black version of the van was parked outside the school.
“It looks like a pickup truck from the outside, slightly different, a little different styling, but it’s a pickup truck,” Burns said. “We didn’t want to make things too different for people to be afraid of, but underneath it’s like no other truck ever made.
Burns answered questions about the truck’s distinctive wheels, its lack of a front grille and technology.
“We put those golden rims in there to really make it clear that there is something different about this truck,” Burns said. “This truck, even the prototype, should have better traction than any of the 30 million pickup trucks currently on the road. It’s a bold statement; it’s just my instinct. Obviously I can’t take that 30 million and have a standoff with them, but I’m pretty sure I can.
The wheels each contain motors in the hub of the truck.
High school principal Jim Vivo said: “Bringing people like that here (from) right into the backyard is invaluable to our kids.”