Workhorse Unwraps New N-Gen Electric Van With Optional Delivery Drone

1 week ago by Domenick Yoney 17

The new all-wheel-drive Workhorse N-Gen electric van

Package delivery may never be the same

It’s been two and a half years since Workhorse Group first presented its delivery-van-with-drone-companion concept. In that time they have not been idle. Besides unveiling the W-15 plug-in hybrid pickup truck — something its CEO Stephen Burns claims they’ve received $300 million worth of  pre-orders for — it has also been chosen as one of four finalists for a new United States Postal Service delivery vehicle, a program worth $6 billion. Did we mention they’ve developed the drone-like SureFly octocopter capable, they say, of carrying two people for 70 miles? Well, they have.

The HorseFly drone is said to be capable of carrying a 10-lb package.

These other high-profile projects haven’t stopped it from pursuing its dreams of a combined ground and air delivery system, though, and today it took the wraps off its new N-Gen electric van with optional HorseFly parcel-carrying drone. The van, with its lightweight composite skin, is expected to return 100 miles of range. If that isn’t enough for a customer’s needs, an optional gasoline-powered range-extending engine is also available that can pad that by another 75 additional miles.

The N-Gen features all-wheel-drive, and the company says that in early testing, it has “demonstrated a 60-65 MPGe efficiency.” Other design concerns center around user ergonomics and urban driveability. The load floor is just 19 inches from the ground, and is accessed through a roll up door in the back, while the roof height is 105 inches, making working in the box a stand-up affair. Its turning radius is said to be a mere 26-feet.

While it hasn’t yet, to our knowledge, received FAA approval for airborne deliveries, Workhorse says its drone is compliant with agency regulations.  When the HorseFly is, finally, allowed to fly the neighborhood skies, it may carry packages weighing up to 10 lbs to doorsteps as the driver tends to other customers. This should reduce overall delivery times and save on stop-and-go wear-and-tear.

The N-Gen platform will also get see a couple larger box sizes later in 2018 — think 700 and 1,000 cubic feet — as well as different configurations for telecommunications or municipal usage. For more details, kindly direct your attention to the official press release waiting below.

Press Release

Workhorse Optimizes Last-Mile Delivery with New N-Gen Electric Van Featuring Integrated HorseFly Package Delivery Drone

New platform features electric all-wheel drive, ultra-low floor, optional unmanned package delivery drone, advanced telematics and optional range extender

CINCINNATI, Ohio (November 7, 2017) — Workhorse Group Inc. (NASDAQ: WKHS), an American technology company focused on providing electric mobility solutions to the commercial transportation sector, today announced it has commenced implementation of an agreement to test and operate its new N-Gen electric van.

“The new N-Gen platform represents a new day for last-mile delivery,” said Stephen Burns, CEO of Workhorse. “With an agreement now in place to test and operate N-Gen vehicles in several cities across the United States, Workhorse continues to be on the front edge of transformative innovation in the commercial transportation sector.”

The electric N-Gen van, with lightweight composite body, will provide an anticipated range of 100 miles on a single charge. An optional gasoline range extender will add an additional 75 miles. In early on-road testing, the N-Gen has demonstrated a 60-65 MPGe efficiency.

The N-Gen’s ultra low 19-inch floor and 105-inch roof height maximize cargo space, reduce knee injuries and enhance driver ease of operation. Standard van options include all-wheel drive, automatic braking and lane centering, a best-in-class 26-foot turning radius and superior handling for maximum versatility. The built-in Workhorse Metron telematics system tracks in real time all van and drone parameters to optimize performance and efficiency. Additional configurations for telecomm service/municipal use, as well as 700-cubic-foot and 1,000-cubic-foot models, are expected in late 2018.

It will also feature an optional integrated HorseFly™ Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Package Delivery System. The carbon-fiber, high-efficiency octocopter drone launches from the roof of a delivery van and delivers a package to its destination within the driver’s line of sight. The patent-pending truck and drone HorseFly system is compliant with all current FAA regulations, and can carry a package weighing up to 10 pounds with a cost of approximately $.03 per mile.

Workhorse and Ryder System, Inc. (NYSE: R) in May announced a partnership that made Ryder — a leader in commercial fleet management, dedicated transportation, and supply chain solutions — the primary distributor and provider of service and support for Workhorse light and medium duty range-extended electric vehicles in North America.

Building on over 1 million miles of real-world experience with fleet customers operating electric medium-duty trucks, N-Gen continues Workhorse’s legacy of innovation in electric transportation. Workhorse’s E-GEN electric, range-extended medium duty truck, is being used today by major package delivery companies, chosen for its low total cost of ownership.

About Workhorse Group Inc.

Workhorse is a technology company focused on providing electric mobility solutions to the commercial transportation sector. As an American original equipment manufacturer, we design and build high performance battery-electric vehicles including trucks and aircraft. We also develop cloud-based, real-time telematics performance monitoring systems that are fully integrated with our vehicles and enable fleet operators to optimize energy and route efficiency. All Workhorse vehicles are designed to make the movement of people and goods more efficient and less harmful to the environment. For additional information visit www.workhorse.com.

Source: Workhorse Group

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17 responses to "Workhorse Unwraps New N-Gen Electric Van With Optional Delivery Drone"

  1. ClarksonCote says:

    Interestingly, their gas range extender is the same engine used in the BMW i3. They seem to even outfit larger step vans with this, like the UPS electric vehicles they’ve delivered.

    My understanding is they can configure the set point for the engine to turn on fairly easily, so they just turn it on sooner (before the battery is drained) for a larger vehicle than they would for a smaller vehicle. Combined with fleet management analytics and knowing how far a vehicle has left on its route, this could be very powerful to maximize EV range and guarantee a vehicle is never stranded.

    1. wavelet says:

      Actually, I don’t think it’s the same REx used in the i3. The latter is 2-cyl. 650cc engine (same as for BMW’s scooters), power 28kW (possibly slightly more for 2018), while the W-15 pickup (which I’d expect has the exact same drivetrain as this van) apparently has a 3-cyl. 50kW engine (displacement unknown).

      https://insideevs.com/workhorse-w-15-plug-in-electric-truck-test-drive-review/

  2. pjwood1 says:

    Their last mile solutions and extended range, 60KWh, pickup are functional designs. The majors don’t want to offer something compelling with higher input costs, and Tesla is stuck on all-battery. Size, weight, recreational demands (funky destinations) and heaven forbid, towing, require more battery than I believe can be priced into such a vehicle (~200Kwh).

    My take is where the EREV bet for cars didn’t pan out, light-duty trucks (<6,500lbs) is where it almost has to.

    I'm long WKHS. At least they probably won't ruin the dash.

  3. James says:

    Do they not have a competent designer at this company? Both the truck and this abomination are simply awful.

    1. John says:

      I don’t think the USPS or most fleet managers care. They just want something that works, and works cheap.

    2. unlucky says:

      I’m wondering if it’s a Mobility Ventures MV-1 reworked. The tooling and design for that is probably relatively cheap to acquire.

      It’s not quite the same in this picture, but maybe it started from there?

      Neither is a looker.

  4. Get Real says:

    Once again this shows that the laggard OEMs are actively ignoring this soon to be huge market for PHEV delivery and utility vehicles.

    As DHL showed in Europe when VW ignored their request because it wanted to sell more diesel vans/trucks, the barrier to entry is not impossible for a new manufacturer in this segment.

    The biggest loser here is GM.

    It blows my mind that they are squandering their lead in PHEV technology with their excellent VOLTEC system and completely ignoring this market as well as the huge truck/suv market that they could dominate if they took their heads out of the ICEd rear ends!

    1. pjwood1 says:

      They lose more money if they go there, than if they stay put.

      “Do I stop a tiny market share loss, to make my whole client base more expensive to serve?” -Probably how it goes.

    2. unlucky says:

      I don’t think VOLTEC is a great idea for delivery vans. BOLTEC is a better idea. You’re not just roaming around town running errands. You know the route you’re going to take. If the route is under 120 miles (and it is) then you can safely take an EV with 200 mile range.

      The lower complexity and cost of acquisiton will make the fleet manager delirious.

  5. Bacardi says:

    While the truck is impressive, the drone is the star of the show…So many people buy sub-10lb items from amazon all the time…Driver can the deliver the 10+lbs packages while the drone delivers the small stuff…

  6. Terawatt says:

    I think this will truly come of age only when the truck itself becomes completely autonomous. Then you can get rid of the whole cabin. And the safety engineering will completely change when there’s no need for a survival cell, just an energy-absorbing lightweight container (to protect the other party in a crash and minimize running cost).

    Given how much goods is transported and the environmental and energy cost of doing so I think if we take a long term view building dedicated infrastructure may be the next big step. Not everywhere, but a backbone network of rails or hyperloops to move stuff to regional centers could possibly pay for itself in a decade or three – and help tremendously by taking pressure off of major roads everywhere.

    If only other companies learned to make use of telecommuting I’d move out in the countryside! It seems entirely possible in the future to offer much of what is attractive about city life almost everywhere…

    1. MTN Ranger says:

      Pretty much like the autonomous trucks in the film Logan:

    2. Patrick Linsley says:

      I wish I could find the article, but there was one written about a decade ago from an urban planner stating that, while yes more funding for pubic transit would be very welcome, one of their biggest frustrations is moving people from one side of town to another. I would think there could be financial incentives set up in congested urban regions (if there isn’t one already)that would encourage businesses to allow telecommuting in the same way there are tax incentives for companies that invest in biking infrastructure for their employees.

    3. pjwood1 says:

      This is why I’m often turning to ragging on Tesla, “The AV company”. Getting rid of the cabin may work for DHL, as getting rid of the steering wheel would, I’m sure, be considered an achievement for Tesla.

      MobilEye recently released a thesis, that in order to implement true Level 5 you basically have to kick drivers off the road:
      https://www.eetimes.com/author.asp?doc_id=1332471

      It’s just more fuel to the fire, that sustainability is just one thing Silicon Valley is competing for. Dropping NHTSA’s “V2V” equipment mandate was, in my opinion, a positive step for the sake of really assessing what this push is all about. -Tremendous revenue under the guise of safety.

  7. Magnus H says:

    So these guys take the approach that the driver stays with the car, while tha package is delivered by drone? The opposite appraoch was taken with the Streetscooter DHL truck, the driver walks to the door with the package, and the car follows.

    I think DHL have the more realistic scenario. And more customer contact.

    1. Domenick Yoney says:

      I think the idea is to have the driver and drone delivering packages at the same time.

  8. Eric Schrader says:

    Hey Workhorse, why don’t you support your loyal RV chassis owners, who you left high and dry. Potential buyers of your new vehicle should remember what you did.

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