Workhorse W-15 Plug-In Electric Truck Test Drive Review

6 months ago by Mark Kane 28

The Workhorse W-15, a plug-in pick-up truck with 80 miles of electric range, was recently unveiled from the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach, along with first test drives; although it was still more like a demonstration of a pre-production prototype.

Workhorse W-15

The company has apparently increased its Letters of Intent from fleets from 2,150 units two months ago to around 4,650 today, and is now hoping to launch production in Q4 2018, starting from $52,500.

But before then, Workhorse needs to complete development (which we also understand to include raising more capital) and build about 30 prototypes for crash tests and evaluations.

According to Trucks.com, the W-15 pickup truck offers both performances and utility.

“During the short drive, the electric pickup delivered on its promise of impressive power and the utility of a true work truck.”

“Trucks.com took the first working version of the W-15 for a short test drive in downtown Long Beach Monday. The truck is more than the static concept vehicle manufacturers display at auto shows but not quite a full prototype.”

For example, the carbon fiber body is to be replaced in production model by a composite plastic body panels with some carbon components.

Inside the Workhorse W-15

Here few insights about driving and interior, along with commentary from Workhorse Chief Executive, Stephen Burns:

“It delivers power with smooth consistency, better suited for the reliability needed under towing and hauling. Workhorse can potentially tailor the power delivery based on customer preference, Burns said. Independent coil suspension on all four wheels provides a smoother ride than the leaf springs employed in most full-size pickups.”

“Braking is one area in which the W-15 is expected to change before it reaches production. During the test drive, the brake pedal needed significant pressure to slow the truck.

Unlike some electric vehicles, the W-15 does not immediately decelerate under coasting in order to regenerate power for the electric batteries. Burns said Workhorse could make the brakes more aggressive in the future.”

External auxiliary output on the Workhorse W-15

The review found that the fit and finish on the early prototype was a strong point, as well as the interior refinements.

As for the ergonomics of the interior, there was lots of storage space in the cab, complete with a large center storage unit that opens up into small compartments for all of ones electronic gizmos and knick knacks.

The information display gives all the well, info that one could want in both a truck and a plug-in vehicle:  range, battery life remaining, as well as a clear navigation and HVAC display system.  CEO also mentioned that the screen is operable with work gloves.

Separately Workhorse selected Ryder System as strategic service partner.

“Ryder will be the exclusive maintenance provider for Workhorse’s entire light- and medium-duty range-extended electric vehicle fleet in North America and will provide a combination of warranty and maintenance services as part of Ryder’s SelectCare fleet maintenance portfolio.”

Workhorse W-15 spec:

  • 80 miles of all-electric range on 60 kWh battery (Panasonic)/67% usable, 75 MPGe fuel efficiency in all-electric operation and total 310 miles of range
  • three-cylinder “range extender” gasoline engine
  • 460 system horsepower (343 kW), two 230-hp/172-kW electric motors, AWD
  • 0-60 miles per hour in 5.5 seconds
  • towing capability of 5,500 lbs, payload of  2,200 lbs
  • collision-avoidance features, automatic braking, lane-departure warning
  • composite body with carbon fiber
  • double cab
  • standard bed configuration
  • 7.2 kW power export that allows tools to be plugged directly into the battery power source without the truck running

Workhorse W-15

source: trucks.com

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28 responses to "Workhorse W-15 Plug-In Electric Truck Test Drive Review"

  1. DangerHV says:

    Stock is at $3.15 as of 10:40 AM ET for anyone who may wan’t to take a chance.
    I consider their partnership with Ryder significant.

    1. Bacardi says:

      WKHS is the ticker…

  2. Chris O says:

    So that unexpectedly high 30% battery redundancy would be to prop up that anaemic little range extender when the vehicle gets pushed too much beyond AER? Better hope that doesn’t run out or you might end up with a 5000lb truck+5000Lb trailer+payload powered by all the might of that 3 cylinder engine…

    1. alohart says:

      The range extender engine is apparently the same 2-cylinder engine used in the BMW i3 REx, so the 3-cylinder claim is incorrect. But as pointed out, it would need to start running while the battery is at a fairly high charge level to prevent the battery from discharging completely under high load like driving long distances at highway speeds.

      1. Chris O says:

        3 cylinder claim from multiple sources at a maximum 50KW output. So that 50KW is all you will have if the battery gets depleted too much.

        BMW i3 REx is known to cap top speed at 40MPH once the battery hits rock bottom but that doesn’t have a 7200Lbs GVWR and can’t tow anything. So lucky there is at least one more cylinder in this…

        1. pjwood1 says:

          60KWh is almost 3 BMW i3 batteries. So, the extended formula can work for fleet use. I can see users bungling REx mode, and not turning on “the charger”, but no reason this kind of storage wouldn’t math-out to most of the uses local utilities (like SCPPA and Duke) would have.

          WKHS could get wiped out, but that said, my cost basis is $2. I doubt Ford and GM will even chase a fleet formula, because fleet trucks would still begin changing the game. There’s lots of milk left to get from the cow they still have.

    2. stan1 says:

      It isn’t a hybrid. It is an electric vehicle with a range extender. If you are out of juice, be happy it moves at all. When people run out of gas, they aren’t surprised the vehicle stops. Put a range extender in an EV, and somehow the underwhelming results of running out of electricity are bad?

  3. David Murray says:

    I suspect what will happen is that this (combined with Tesla’s threat of a truck) will scare Ford, Chevy, or Chrysler into making their own. Then they will wipe the floor with these guys because they have much larger economies of scale.

    1. mx says:

      Nope. Ford and GM CEO’s are focused only on stock price. Any significant threat to their ICE lines would mean a stock price drop, because those who invest in Ford and GM are conservative.

      Look for these companies to slowly die from lack of innovation.

    2. Bacardi says:

      I disagree…

      They could make a 1000 mile range truck for $19995 and still the majority of truck buyers wouldn’t give it a second thought…Lift kit, oversized wheels and tires and loud flowmasters…

      1. Stimpacker says:

        Yup, exactly.

        A lot of truck lovers are suburban cowboys. It’s gotta be big, shiny, tall and loud. EV’s are not for them.

        1. Samwise says:

          until they get completely smoked at the lights…

          1. ModernMarvelFan says:

            No, they care about tug of war.

            Until they are beaten at every tug of war, they won’t give in…

        2. old_cowboy says:

          LOL Elitist much?

          1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            No, realist much.

            A generality: The sort of guy who would pay the money to buy one of those oversized, overpowered pickup-trucks-on-steroids, not because he needs to use a large heavy vehicle for his daily driver but just because he wants to, obviously does it for the image he think it projects. That sort of guy would never, ever drive an electric vehicle, or anything that doesn’t go “VROOM! VROOM!” when you stomp on the accelerator.

            Now as I said, “old_cowboy”, that’s a generality. If you personally are an exception to that rule, then I congratulate you… but you’re still the exception.

            It’s interesting that Workhorse is producing this vehicle, but it’s good that they are a low-volume manufacturer because the market for this will probably be quite small. In fact, it may not be an exaggeration to say this will be just a niche market, at least until the day the EV revolution is nearly complete, and nearly everyone is driving an EV.

            The market for oversized “macho” pickups will almost certainly be one of the very last holdouts in the switch from gasmobiles (or diesel-mobiles) to EVs.

  4. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

    Elon and Tesla should take a design cue from the Workhorse W-15 and add a second screen behind the steering wheel in its upcoming Model 3.

    1. Chris O says:

      Why? Plenty of takers with just the one screen and simplicity will speed up introduction. I’m sure if despite increasing levels of autonomy people still feel the need for an extra screen beside their smartphones Tesla will add one or a HUD down the line.

      1. David Murray says:

        I suspect a lot of those takers don’t even realize the lack of driver screen yet… once they sit in the car they may go.. WTF? and then ask for their deposit back.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Yup.

          I think Tesla is seriously underestimating how much resistance the average buyer will have against the lack of instrument panel.

          Some people are already talking about attaching a smartphone or iPad in that position to display a virtual instrument panel. Why doesn’t Tesla offer that, or something similar, as an option?

          My prediction is that Tesla will turn around on this issue rather quickly after they actually start letting people convert Model 3 reservations to orders.

  5. Someone out there says:

    It’s ugly as sin but then again trucks rarely are much to look at. However it looks promising from a usability aspect. I’m not a truck guy myself but I can see fleets and workers finding this vehicle very interesting.

  6. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    I’m all in for a PHEV Truck!
    Though 80AER is more than I really need, but I’ll take it.

    What’s the price tag?

    1. Bacardi says:

      $52K but it appears to be fleet only which in itself doesn’t prevent you from owning one (anyone can open up a LLC) but often as in the case of VIA, they won’t sell less than 5…Furthermore, while it qualifies for the $7500 tax credit, even if you found 4 of your friends/family members who would buy the other four off you for whatever you paid, you would still have to file the five tax credits off your LLC…

  7. Bill Howland says:

    Although I’m too timid to take an equity position in the company at this time, it looks like a great first start, and is the vehicle VIA should have made.

    The motors are larger than most truck buyers need, but possibly smaller motors were not that much cheaper, so they have 2 large motors that satisfy everyone. And the intrinsic AWD will be popular with many.

    I do think a cost reduced 230 hp 2-wd version should be offered, as it will also appeal to buyers who are cost-conscious (like me).

    The 80 mile AER is outstanding. And the gingerly used batteries should last years.

  8. Jason says:

    I’ll take one!

    Why can’t all trucks have that $30 shock on the tail gate so it opens slowly!?!?! DeeZee Tailgate Assist Custom, look at it.

    80 Mile all electric range is more than enough for 95% of the fleet operators who are (potentially) getting these.

  9. EV Livin' says:

    I’m thankful for the article, but I am surprised there wasn’t more on InsideEvs on the ACT Expo. There were a lot of vehicles showcased there.
    http://www.actexpo.com/vehicles

    I know the focus seems to now be Tesla all day everyday on this site, but if you want more bang for your buck re:emissions, then the heavy duty sector is where it’s at. Lots of fleet buyers there too that can help shape a market.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “I know the focus seems to now be Tesla all day everyday on this site, but if you want more bang for your buck re:emissions, then the heavy duty sector is where it’s at.”

      I think that’s a fair cop re the heavy focus on Tesla here, but at the same time it’s a lot easier to find new info about Tesla, due to Tesla’s tireless hype public relations machine. If InsideEVs could get as much info from WorkHorse, hopefully we’d see a lot more articles on the W-15 PHEV pickup.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Well, we did do a few pieces from ACT, such as this one, and things like the BYD all-electric garbage truck. We also have an open invite to go test out the W15 extended range truck…so you might be seeing that (or other things still) from ACT in the future, it is just a matter if how many hours there are in a day, and trying to figure out how much interest there is for the more “fringe” in the segment, (=

        1. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ sven says:

          We need more Twizy stories!

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