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An object used to extend the ability of an individual to modify features of the surrounding environment. Anthropologists believe the use of tools was an important step in the evolution of mankind. The earliest known use of tools dates back more than 3.4 million years ago. By inventing tools, man was able to accomplish tasks way beyond the abilities of the human body. By using a spear or bow and arrow, we were able to rise to the top of the food chain.
Mechanical devices used as tools experienced a major expansion in their use in Ancient Greece with the systematic employment of new energy sources like waterwheels and windmills.
The industrial revolution brought on a surge in tools THAT PRODUCED OTHER TOOLS! Today advocates of nanotechnolgy expect a similar surge as tools become microscopic in size.
So is it any wonder..
That not only is man constantly on the look out for new tools.. he's also looking for ways to improve the tools he has.
The use of electricity to power tools is not new. As a matter of fact, the words "electric" and "electricity" first appeared in print in 1646 in Thomas Brown's publication Pseudodoxia Epidemica, a valuable source of information which found itself upon the shelves of many homes in seventeenth century England.
In the 1880's, rapid progress in electrical science through such people as Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, and others would see the greatest progress in electrical engineering. The effects of electromagnetisism employed in an electric motor provided a clean and efficient means of motive power. But a motor that moves WITH its application, such as an electric vehicle, must carry along a power source such as a battery or collect current from a sliding contact.
Of course it was around this same time that the internal combustion engine was introduced. The first modern internal combustion engine was created in 1876 by Nicolaus Otto. By 1886 Karl Benz began the first commercial production of motor vehicles with an internl combustion engine AND a way to carry a power source (fuel) that was both relatively safe and economical. As mass production of cheaper gasoline increased, the use of electric drive vehicles decreased.
"If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don't bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking."
R. Buckminster Fuller
In the next few days the world is going to get a gimpse at a new way of thinking about one of the most used tools in the world- The Truck. That's when two of the major players in the electric pickup truck segment of the auto industry plan to reveal just exactly what it is they've been working on.
During the week of June 22nd, startup Lordstown Motors and legacy truck maker Ford Motor Company both plan to do a "virtual reveal" of fully electric trucks that will actually be in production by the end of the year. Lordstown- with the Endurance, and Ford- with the all new 2021 F-150.
Both had hoped to do splashy in person events to show off the new trucks, but with the pandemic still looming heavily in the backround, each are attempting the next best thing- a virtual roll out to an online audience. And though there may be some simularities in the webcasts, the road each manufacturer took to get here couldn't be more divergent.
Lordstown Motors, which has only existed as a company since it aquired the former GM assembly plant in Lordstown OH. in November of 2019, is laying it's hopes for success on two key factors: First- the Endurance will be the first commercial truck to have four in-wheel hub motors that supply ample horsepower and torque, as well as simplify the design process by having fewer moving parts. Second- by taking over a modern existing plant, they can avoid the chaos most EV startups are facing when it comes to the financing needed to built a plant from scratch. In other words, fitting the former Chevy Cruze facility to build electric trucks by retrofitting existing machinery is going to be extremely cheaper.
The in-wheel hub quad-motor setup in the Endurance electric pickup truck will churn out 600 horsepower or 440 kW of power output. For comparison, the Tesla Model X P100D is rated at 311 kW. The Endurance will also get 6,000 lbs of towing capacity.
The drawbacks for the truck will be a top speed of only 80 MPH and a range of somewhere between 200-250 miles on a single charge.
But like the mark of any good tool, Lordstown is making the truck safe AND affordable coming in with a five star crash rating in front and side impacts and a base price of just over $52,000.00 (and qualify for the full $7,500 government tax credit.)
Ultimately, Lordstown Motors wants to produce 500,000 vehicles a year in the northeast Ohio area it has dubbed "Voltage Valley." Reports say GM could provide another $10 million in financing, the OEM looking likely to remain involved in the area by building a large battery factory in partnership with LG Chem, part of which might include taking up an option to lease space in the Lordstown Assembly Plant.
Perhaps they'll remember what doomed the electric car more than a century ago, using a battery as a source of power. Then building the Endurance right from the beginning, as their ONLY product, a true full size pickup for the worker that's the RIGHT tool for the job will guarantee their success.
Ford on the other hand...
Their tool just happens to already be America's best-selling pickup for the last 42 years. So their version of a fully electric tool will take on the look of an evolution, more than a revolution. They're taking more of a "synergistic" approach to electrifying their line up by introducing a hybrid gas/electric power plant first. So while they'll be touting the unveiling of the new F-150 as a culmination of all their hard work at developing a fully electric truck, Ford plans to use hybrid vehicles to start. That way, they can develop a product, manufacture it, do more pilot projects in the area of artifical intellegence, and retrofit what they learn to meet the demands of a fully autonomous electric tool down the road.
Ford is investing around $700 million to make this next-generation pickup at its Dearborn, Michigan plant. The upcoming gasoline-electric and battery-electric variants of the new F-150 SHOULD make it a gamechanger just as much as today's truck was nearly half a decade ago.
All told, in the 2019 UAW contract, Ford agreed to invest $6 billion in its U.S. factories. With the anouncement earlier this year that it was dedicating 91% of its capital to developing and manufacturing trucks and SUVs, and Ford’s investment in Rivian and the boom in e-commerce—where vehicles are going shorter distances with lots of starts and stop—ramping up production of electric versions of their full-size trucks and SUVs could pay off even in the near term.