Ohio-based technology manufacturer Workhorse Group has unveiled its latest vehicle for fleet customers, the electric W-15 pickup truck. The truck is designed to provide the power needs of the light-duty pickup fleet market along with a significant reduction in emissions and a lower total cost of ownership than any other vehicle in the field. To distribute and maintain the W-15, Workhorse has partnered with Ryder System, a leader in commercial fleet management.
"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," said Steve Burns, CEO of Workhorse. "We have leveraged the platform technologies used in our commercially available e-GEN and W-100 medium-duty vehicles as well as our partnerships with Panasonic and BMW to create the best light-duty transportation solution for the commercial sector."
Workhorse Group started out as AMP Electric Vehicles in 2007, electrifying passenger vehicles like the Saturn Sky, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Mercedes Benz ML350. After acquiring the Workhorse brand in 2015, the company started supplying UPS and other delivery companies with their e-GEN converted step van outfitted with a battery-electric range-extended (E-REV) powertrain. Workhorse also started developing a dedicated vehicle for the USPS Next Generation Delivery Vehicle competition.
This has led the company to design and develop their own E-REV pickup truck dedicated to meeting the needs of the light-duty fleet market. Workhorse designed their own chassis for the W-15 to house the Panasonic 18650 Li-ion batteries packaged into the structure along with full independent front and rear suspension. The front and rear subframes each house their own BorgWarner electric motor for direct all-wheel drive control. The motors generate 460 hp (343 kW), providing enough power for a 0-60 mph (0-100 km/h) acceleration time of 5.5 seconds while supporting 80 mi (129 km) of all-electric range. The three-cylinder range-extending engine provides another 310 mi (499 km) of range on an 11-gal (42-L) tank.
“Instead of trying to build a truck that can do everything, build one kind of for-purpose vehicle for our mainstream fleet customers,” continued Burns. “Our main goal was to not reinvent what has been proven over 100 years…but build upon that 100 years.”
Workhorse decided to focus on an extended cab layout with a 6.5 ft (2 m) bed at the start of production. At 234 in (5.9 m), the W-15 is longer than any other light-duty full-size pickup with similar cab and bed configuration. However, that extra length is purposefully designed for an extra-large front crumple zone. Advanced safety features like collision avoidance, automatic braking and lane departure warning come standard to help achieve the best safety ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The payload capacity rating is 2200 lb (998 kg) and towing capacity tops out at 5000 lb (2268 kg), which is a lower towing capacity but higher payload capacity than the V6 full-size pickup competition.
Another standard feature the W-15 offers over the competition is a 7.2-kW outlet to power electric tools straight from the truck. The interior of the truck comes outfitted with dual digital displays—one behind the steering wheel for driver information and the other mounted to the center dash that includes the integrated Workhorse Metron telematics system. While the $52,500 MSRP may be higher than the initial purchase price for the current gas-powered truck options, the W-15 offers a projected lower total cost of ownership over an expected 8- to 10-year duty cycle due to lower fuel and maintenance costs.
Workhorse partners with Ryder
To meet the needs of customers nationwide, Workhorse has partnered with Ryder to sell and maintain its E-100, e-GEN and W-15 fleet.
“Ryder is pleased to partner with Workhorse,” said Dennis Cooke, President, Global Fleet Management Solutions for Ryder. “We commend them for their leadership and decision to partner exclusively with Ryder for their range-extended electric commercial vehicle maintenance needs. This relationship will help make electric commercial vehicles more affordable and reliable, so more businesses can take advantage of their environmental and efficiency benefits.”
Ryder will be the primary distributor and exclusive maintenance partner for the entire portfolio of Workhorse product offerings. Ryder will expand its fleet expertise into advanced commercial vehicle technology offerings along with the partnership with Nikola, a new hydrogen fuel-cell Class 8 truck company.
All of this is designed to maximum uptime and lower costs for fleet customers across North America. Expect to see these trucks rolling silently by to worksites in late 2018.