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Fire report gives more details on Endurance

LORDSTOWN — Lordstown Motors Corp. suffered a property loss of $150,000 when one of its prototype Endurance electric trucks caught fire on its maiden road test last month.

That detail and others are contained in a fire report this newspaper requested Monday and received Wednesday from the fire department in Farmington Hills, Mich., a Detroit suburb where the upstart automaker has a satellite research and development center.

The report states when firefighters arrived just after 12:40 a.m. Jan. 13, the truck was engulfed in flames and its hood was melted completely.

It was found partially in the median in trees, causing some of the branches to catch fire, the report states.

According to police, the driver of the vehicle, the director of powertrain for Lordstown Motors, said the truck had just cleared testing inside the facility and the road test was its first.

When he noticed the truck was driving weird about 10 minutes into the test, he pulled over and the truck started on fire from underneath. The report states the fire started in the “engine area, running gear, wheel area” of the truck.

Also “magnesium was noted from water reaction below the rear seats in the passenger compartment,” the report states.

The cause is listed as unintentional and the heat source as undetermined.

The fire happened on a four-lane divided road in a neighborhood that appears to be all business and office space. No one was injured. The truck was towed and later released to Lordstown Motors, according to police.

Lordstown Motors through its spokesman said Monday the fire involved a development mule, not a full Endurance truck. A “development mule” is automotive industry jargon to describe a vehicle with prototype components used in testing and for evaluation.

Photos contained in the fire report show a body unlike what the company has shown publicly in other Endurance prototypes. Before the truck was introduced publicly last summer, Lordstown Motors had showed it testing with a donor body. It appears the vehicle that caught fire had a donor body atop an Endurance chassis.

Lordstown Motors opened the research and development center in November. It’s space the company uses for vehicle inspection and benchmarking, and lab testing, validation and prototyping.

The company in late January announced it is targeting March to complete prototypes of the Endurance and remains on track to launch full production in September. Already, the company has begun metal stamping and welding for the 57 beta prototypes that will be used for crash, engineering and validation testing and customer feedback.

The fire will not delay the start of production, according to the company.

Lordstown Motors has received more than 100,000 nonbinding production reservations from commercial fleets for the Endurance, which has a sticker price of $45,000 after a federal rebate. The truck has four moving parts — the in-hub electric motors — and also a battery pack that provides a range of up to 250 miles, according to the company.

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