Lordstown Motors Explains Brake Defect on Endurance
LORDSTOWN, Ohio – Lordstown Motors Corp. has filed documents with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration providing more details about a braking defect that affects some models of its all-electric pickup, the Endurance.
“The electric park brake calipers may have been built with washers that had not been properly heat-treated by the supplier,” documents say. As such, the clamping force of the brakes may degrade over time and “could allow the vehicle to roll after being parked, especially on a high grade, which could increase the risk of a crash.”
Lordstown Motors has not received any reports of accidents or injuries related to this issue, the NHTSA filing states.
Still, the matter prompted Lordstown Motors to initiate its second voluntary recall of the Endurance within a two-week time frame.
Edward T. Hightower, Lordstown Motors president and CEO, disclosed the second recall during a conference call with investors March 6, noting that one of its suppliers alerted the company of the defect.
“They have since supplied us with corrective parts, and we have filed a voluntary recall to address this issue,” he said.
According to the NHTSA filing, the most recent recall affects five vehicles.
On Feb. 20, Akebono Brake Corp. of Farmington Hills, Mich., notified Lordstown Motors that certain rear electric park brake calipers delivered to the company between Nov. 4, 2022 and Feb. 8, 2023 were potentially equipped with faulty thrust washers that were provided to Akebono through a sub-supplier.
The sub-supplier contacted Akebono in early February about the possible problem and subsequently conducted an analysis that determined a “small percentage of washers” had not undergone proper heat treatment.
Once Lordstown Motors analyzed the data, it issued a recall on the Endurance March 1.
Akebono told Lordstown Motors that the rear brake systems are all marked and traceable. Akebono then provided the electric-vehicle manufacturer with shipment identifications of those parking brake systems with potentially defective washers.
Lordstown Motors said only electric park brakes with washers that have been properly heat-treated will be used in future production and all those vehicles in production will be retrofitted with the corrected part.
Lordstown Motors said it would replace those affected systems with new ones at no cost to the owner.
On Feb. 21, Lordstown Motors issued a recall of 19 vehicles after it was discovered that a faulty electronic component caused the Endurance to lose propulsion. Once the vehicle is stopped, “it may automatically shift in neutral” and not restart, according to this NHTSA filing by Lordstown Motors.
Lordstown Motors identified that the source of the problem was a defective busbar that fed electricity to the Endurance’s four hub motors. The supplier, Chinese-based Amphenol Interconnect Products Corp., has developed a new version of the component that would be used in all future vehicles, and those that have been sold would be recalled and the parts replaced.
Meanwhile, production of the Endurance remains on hold as the company works out these quality and safety issues, executives say.
“The company is diligently working with suppliers on the root cause analysis of each issue and potential solutions, which in some cases may include part design modifications, retrofits and software updates,” the company said.
Hightower said the company would announce “in the coming weeks” when it would resume production of the Endurance.
“Performance issues are often discovered as an entirely new vehicle with several new technologies begins operating in new and different environments by customers,” the company noted.
Shares of Lordstown Motors, which trades under the ticker RIDE on Nasdaq, have plunged 24.7% over the last five days. On Friday, the stock briefly traded at 81 cents, the lowest value to date, before closing at 84 cents, unchanged from Thursday.
As of February 2023, Lordstown Motors has completed or is in the process of completing approximately 40 trucks, the company said. A total of six vehicles have been sold.
Lordstown Motors plans to produce a first batch of 500 vehicles this year, Hightower said.
That’s well behind last year’s projections. In February 2022, the company said that it was on track to produce 500 Endurance pickups during that calendar year and 2,500 in 2023.
Lordstown Motors is currently seeking a partnership with another manufacturer to invest in and co-develop the Endurance. Without such an investment, the company could be forced to again halt production of the vehicle.
“Should we not identify a partner in the coming months, we may decide to pause commercial production of the Endurance until a partner is identified,” Hightower said during the March 6 call. Currently, the cost to produce the Endurance is substantially higher than its base sale price of approximately $65,000.
“It’s an upside down margin on each one,” Hightower said of the Endurance. “We believe the most prudent decision is to bring on a partner.”
Lordstown Motors has an investment agreement to produce future vehicles with Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn at Foxconn’s manufacturing plant in Lordstown. However, it does not have such an agreement to continue production of the Endurance.
Foxconn purchased its plant, a former General Motors assembly factory, from Lordstown Motors in May 2022 for $230 million.
Lordstown Motors began production of the Endurance in late September of 2022 and started commercial deliveries that November.
Pictured at top: File photo of production.
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.