Automotive

Workhorse powers up range-extended electric pickup truck

Though it still has an internal combustion engine under the hood, Workhorse has done away with the large, breezy grille common on pickup trucks
Though it still has an internal combustion engine under the hood, Workhorse has done away with the large, breezy grille common on pickup trucks
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Though it still has an internal combustion engine under the hood, Workhorse has done away with the large, breezy grille common on pickup trucks
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Though it still has an internal combustion engine under the hood, Workhorse has done away with the large, breezy grille common on pickup trucks
There's no debate about who makes this truck
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There's no debate about who makes this truck
Beyond its electric-styled front-end, the W-15 looks like the typical pickup: strong, durable and ready to work
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Beyond its electric-styled front-end, the W-15 looks like the typical pickup: strong, durable and ready to work
A 7.2-kW hookup provides a plug-in for power tools
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A 7.2-kW hookup provides a plug-in for power tools
The Workhorse W-15 promises to be a capable work truck
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The Workhorse W-15 promises to be a capable work truck
Inside, the W-15 prototype wears a digital dashboard 
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Inside, the W-15 prototype wears a digital dashboard 
The Workhorse W-15 interior looks more modern than the average pickup
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The Workhorse W-15 interior looks more modern than the average pickup
With its 460-hp dual-motor system and ICE range extender, the W-15 offers a mix of all-electric driving and longer-range commuting
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With its 460-hp dual-motor system and ICE range extender, the W-15 offers a mix of all-electric driving and longer-range commuting
Inside the Workhorse W-15
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Inside the Workhorse W-15

Tesla may be working on an electric pickup truck, but it won't be the first to inject a little electric-guided design into the pickup market. At this week's Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, Ohio-based OEM Workhorse revealed what it's calling the first electric pickup truck designed for the fleet market. A range-extended electric, the W-15 puts a new face on the classic pickup truck while combining Panasonic and BMW tech for a range close to 400 miles (644 km).

Amp Electric Vehicles once thought the future was all about electrifying SUVs like the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but it eventually shifted its focus to commercial vehicles. It acquired the Workhorse brand in 2015 and moved forward as Workhorse Group Incorporated, busying itself with range-extended, medium-duty electric trucks and delivery drones.

Now, Workhorse has gone a bit smaller in presenting its vision of the range-extended electric truck of the near-future. With the W-15 pickup, it's followed the Tesla model of creating a ground-up build bringing together fresh style, clean driving and tech-focused construction. This ground-up strategy distinguishes the pickup from range-extended electric trucks like VIA Motors' converted Silverado.

The W-15 definitely looks different from other pickups in its facial construction, wearing a more modern, electric-driven design in place of a big, shiny grille. A thin mesh grille and prominent "Workhorse" logo provide a little contrast color within the heavily body-matching front-end design.

Beyond that, the W-15 looks like a rugged pickup, following the usual formula of straight lines, sharp corners and flared fenders.

Beyond its electric-styled front-end, the W-15 looks like the typical pickup: strong, durable and ready to work
Beyond its electric-styled front-end, the W-15 looks like the typical pickup: strong, durable and ready to work

The W-15's drive power comes from front and rear traction motors spreading up to 460 hp (343 kW) around all four wheels. Utilizing Panasonic lithium-ion cells, the onboard battery keeps those motors spinning for up to 80 miles (129 km), and the BMW gas range-extender engine mounted up front tacks on an extra 310 miles (500 km) per fill-up. Workhorse estimates fuel economy at 75 mpg-e (3.1 l/100km) when driving on pure battery power, 32 highway/28 city mpg (7.4/8.4 l/100km) when the ICE range-extender is in action.

We're not sure fleet customers will be putting the estimated 5.5-second 0-60 mph (96.5 km/h) to the test with much regularity, but they'll certainly want to know all about the 2,200-lb (1,000-kg) payload, 7,200-lb (3,266-kg) gross vehicle weight rating, 5,000-lb (2,268-kg) towing and five-person seating layout. The 7.2-kW power outlet that taps directly into the battery pack for powering up tools without having to run the truck is also sure to find use at job sites.

The Workhorse W-15 promises to be a capable work truck
The Workhorse W-15 promises to be a capable work truck

"Our team designed the W-15 not only for exceptional performance, but also the lowest total cost of ownership, the lowest emissions profile, and with state of the art autonomous controls and telematics," Workhorse CEO Steve Burns explains. "We have listened to fleet engineers, managers and drivers in order to deliver the best pickup truck for commercial use, from cost of ownership, to functionality, to performance and, above all else, safety and dependability for the driver."

The W-15 features technologies like lane departure warning, collision avoidance/auto braking, and interior touchscreen controls with the Workhorse Metron telematics system streamlining fleet tracking and management. The truck measures 234 x 80 x 73.9 in (5,944 x 2,032 x 1,877 mm, L x W x H), rides on a 143-in (3,632-mm) wheelbase and has 12 in (305 mm) of ground clearance.

Workhorse is showing the first drivable prototype at the ACT Expo and plans to begin production in late 2018. It says that it's already received more than 4,500 pre-order letters of intent, from more than 18 commercial vehicle fleets.

Source: Workhorse

7 comments
Bruce H. Anderson
The extended cab is nice for children, but a full crew cab needs to be there if it is to be taken seriously as a work truck.
zr2s10
I like it, but I hope they plan on expanding to private buyers. If not, it won't last. You can't survive on fleet sales alone, and a truck with those specs would be welcome if they market as well as Tesla does. Cost prevented the GM hybrid Silverado from taking off, but it also didn't put up 30mpg. I'm curious to see what their MSRP is.
CoachFerg
460HP and I imagine gobs of torque, and it is only rated to tow 5,000 lbs? It appears the limiting factor is the ICE that provides most of the motive power to the ground. This does not make the truck impractical, but it does limit its usefulness as a 1/2 ton segment work truck. However, it could find its niche in certain mid-duty (city/urban landscape) businesses. It certainly won't make a choice for those who tow travel trailers or other heavy loads.
Bob
Let's jump to the bottom line. What will this thing cost?
ljaques
Butt fugly. I doubt the motors would last long trying to tow 5k#. The price will be $100k, I'll bet. The only good thing is that it will be an electric pickup.
gangadin
They should put a free spinning fly wheel with a generator to put back electrical energy into high capacity capacitors and get more milage.
VincentWolf
Although Workhorse may appeal to a few construction workers by and large it will be an epic fail among professionals because of it's very limited 5,000 lb towing limit. Most construction workers occasionally, and sometimes daily, haul dump trailers for trash and bobcats for excavation or flat bed trailers full of lumber, quickrete, etc, etc. I know this as a builder myself in Conifer Colorado for many years. Most of my co-workers had trucks all with 10,000+ towing ability--some with 30,000 lb towing. For example, we had to haul cut designed SIP panels on a special trailer (goose neck) vertically arranged and weight was about 8,000 to 10,000 per load and the special trailer itself tipped the scales at over 4,000 lbs. Just a typical day at the office for professionals. So having a 5,000 lb weight limit for towing makes it an epic fail. The Bollinger, Rivian, and Tesla will have much larger towing limits in line with construction requirements (or landscaping, or or or). Somehow I get the feeling these truck designers NEVER talked with professionals and their needs. I guess they feel their just using them to haul workers in the crew cabs that most have and a few tools. Doesn't work that way in real life.
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