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.
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.
"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.