Lordstown Posts Video of Its EV Pickup Beating Ford F-150 in Tug of War

  • Lordstown shared video of the 2021 Endurance electric pickup beating a 2019 Ford F-150 in a tug of war.
  • Not only is the Endurance a more powerful vehicle, its electric powertrain gave it another edge in the competition versus the Ford’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6—1600 lb-ft more torque, for one thing.
  • Lordstown is targeting fleet sales, where the F-150 does very well.

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      When it comes to torque, EVs have a distinct advantage over gas-powered vehicles. It’s how the Tesla Model S and Model X can post such incredibly quick zero-to-60 times. It’s also a reason why electric trucks are appealing to some potential buyers. With that in mind, Lordstown decided to do a little experiment about torque pitting its upcoming Endurance electric pickup against a 2019 Ford F-150. The problem is, it’s less of an actual experiment and more of a publicity stunt.

      Don’t get us wrong, we’re all for weird publicity stunts by automakers if they’re done well. But sometimes it’s important to step back and figure out what’s really happening. In this case, Lordstown set up a tug of war between the Endurance and a Ford F-150 Lariat with EcoBoost. The stage was a field, where the vehicles sat atop wet grass as their drivers waited to be told to start the competition. Everyone loves a good tug of war. From its time as an Olympic sport from 1900 until 1920 to corporate picnics, the premise is simple: you pull until you win or you are pulled forward.

      In the Lordstown video, unsurprisingly, the Endurance emerges the victor. The automotive startup says that its four-motor AWD pickup puts out 2000 lb-ft of continuous torque and 4400 lb-ft of peak torque. Lordstown told Car and Driver that the AWD Lariat F-150 used in the demonstration has the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 that outputs 325 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque—putting it at a distinct 1600-lb-ft torque disadvantage.

      But there’s also the issue of how the whole thing goes down. It’s clear in all three shots of the event that the Endurance engages its powertrain first. The Endurance pulls, and the F-150 reacts. Lordstown points out that electric motors typically engage quicker than gas vehicles, which is true but it doesn’t change the fact that once the EV truck is already pulling the F-150 backward when the Ford pickup’s wheels begin spinning forward.

      In order to see if this wheel-engagement gave the already more powerful Endurance an additional advantage, we spoke with Dr. David L. Clements, reader in astrophysics in the physics department of Imperial College, London, about the video Lordstown shared. Clements told Car and Driver that Lordstown “seemed to be keen to make sure that nobody started early. Ignoring any difference in the vehicles, there might be a difference in friction between static friction, when the wheels are turning properly, and dynamic friction when the wheels are skidding on the wet grass. I suspect there is a lot less grip when skidding, which is why once this starts the game is lost.”

      Frankly, the Ford F-150 didn’t have a chance. The reason Lordstown chose Ford (as did Tesla, when it pitted it against the Cybertruck) is that the F-150 is still the best-selling not only truck but vehicle in the United States. It appeals to both consumers and Lordstown’s potential customers, fleets. So don’t be surprised if the F-150 gets trotted out again in future and matched against a more powerful electric vehicle. That’s what happens when something holds the top spot: it becomes a target. Of course, Ford has its own electric F-150 in the pipeline. When that comes to market, it’ll be interesting to see how a tug of war rematch plays out.

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