Workhorse Receives Letters Of Intent For 2,150 W-15 Electric Trucks

Workhorse W-15

MAR 21 2017 BY MARK KANE 41

Workhorse Group continues to share positive news about its Workhorse W-15 range-extended pickup trucks with 80 miles of all-electric range.

Workhorse Group

The latest announcement is that Workhorse has gotten Letters of Intent from fleets for 2,150 units. We should note that these are not orders, per se, but still, at an expected MSRP of $52,500 that’s $113 million on the table. That’s enough for Workhorse to prepare for production.

Workhorse would like to build the W-15 in its Union City, Indiana plant, a facility with the capacity to build 60,000 chassis a year. Looks like it will be a long time until Workhorse makes use of its full capacity. The Letters of Intent have come from:

  • Duke Energy
  • Portland General Electric
  • The City of Orlando
  • Southern California Public Power Authority
  • Clean Fuels Ohio
  • One other utility

Workhorse W-15

A drivable prototype will be unveiled at the ACT EXPO show in Long Beach, California on May 2nd. Fleet managers are invited to attend the show and go for a test drive.

“The W-15 has been designed to reflect features and benefits that we believe fleets want today.  The W-15’s safety features are expected to include an extra large crumple zone, and a lower center of gravity while still providing ground clearance.

A hi-tech design, the W-15 is also expected to offer crash mitigation technologies, including automatic braking and lane centering.  Electric power will be supplied using Panasonic 18650 Li-on batteries. The truck’s battery pack is expected to deliver 80-mile all-electric range and to achieve 75 MPGe while in all-electric operation. The 80 mile range is designed to cover the majority of the miles driven in a day by fleets. If needed, the on-board gasoline generator will then operate after battery power has been depleted, extending the range. To reduce weight, the W-15’s body panels are made of a carbon fiber composite which also have the benefit of being rustproof

The Workhorse W-15 light duty platform design is an extension of the E-Gen electric range extended technology used in Workhorse medium-duty delivery trucks. This existing medium-duty, delivery truck business has demonstrated low Total Cost of Ownership and dramatically reduced emissions.”

Steve Burns, Workhorse CEO said:

“We believe the W-15 will be the first electric plug-in pickup made in America by an OEM. Fleets look at total cost of ownership for their vehicles and we are very encouraged by the number of fleets that the positive feedback we have received with respect to the economics in owning W-15s as part of a fleet.”

“The W-15 is to be designed offering safety, efficiency, advanced technology and sustainability. We feel the reception we’ve seen from fleets shows that these features and benefits are all things that fleets are looking for in their pickup truck vehicles.”

Source: Workhorse

Categories: Trucks

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41 Comments on "Workhorse Receives Letters Of Intent For 2,150 W-15 Electric Trucks"

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The race is on!

Like Lee Iacocca said…

“Lead, follow, or get out of the way”

How long until they are available to the consumer market?

I don’t need a loaded truck, just a good truck. And preferably one that can “refuel” from my solar panels.

Exactly !

As soon as a real company builds one.

A Ford F-150 Energy would do just fine. 30mi ev range with the ability to use it as a work generator.

When will that hit the market?

Great news. I’ve seen so many utilities with “cost to KWh” values beneath five cents, there’s no way they should be running petrol. Now, if we could just get them to promote EV adoption, and have regulators interested in seeing them benefit from it.

I don’t need a truck at all but I’m glad that someone is catering to that market too. If every car was swapped for a plugin hybrid with even as little as 30 miles of range it would do enormous good for the environment. “Unfortunately” though, that would mean that oil consumption would drop like a stone which in turn would make gasoline more or less go away since there would barely be any market for it anymore. That in turn would turn the plug-in hybrids into really expensive 30 mile battery electric cars 🙂

You have discovered the future because that’s going to happen anyway. As soon as people learn the benefits of fully functioning BEVs and learn the downside propaganda by the fossil fuel companies is not true. I have been driving my Leaf for six years and I cannot ever go back to dirty gassers.

Agree Lad. I’m trading in my leaf for a Model 3 when ready.

Carbon fiber body panels? An 80 mile range would be what? 40 kWh of batteries. No way this truck is ever built for 52,000 dollars. Or ever built honestly…..

You win the “first rational post” award Dave. This company is nowhere close to being able to execute this job.

“that’s $113 million on the table”

Yes, after they spend over $300M on design, mule-level development, and a portion of tooling development, they’ll be on their way to the next few $100M of spend to get to road testing, the rest of the factory and homologation.

This’ll go belly up before you can say Azure Dynamics.

The article should probably have mentioned this, but you seem to forget (or never bothered to do 3min of googling) that this isn’t a standalone vehicle.

Using the same drivetrain (incl. sourcing the gas engine from BMW, using the same 2-cyl. scooter engine as the i3 REx) & platform, they are making and selling step vans, already in use by FedEx, UPS and others.

They are also a participant (as a drivetrain supplier) in a bid for the huge USPS contract.

“The article should probably have mentioned this, but you seem to forget (or never bothered to do 3min of googling) that this isn’t a standalone vehicle.” The modern insult: nyah nyah you didn’t Google… Google gives you doorways to information but does not give simultaneously improve your knowledge or reasoning (see many posts here). No, I understand plenty about Workhorse Group, its origins, products and this particular vehicle. This is the old Amp company in a different color (more disruption! Drones! Other stuff!) They are indeed making and selling delivery vans, vehicles sold at a price well above market to buyers with Federal, State and Local incentives to experiment with alternate transport energy sources. And yet with all that help in 2016 they lost (at the GP line – no R&D, SG&A or of course CapEx considerations) $62k per each of last year’s 114 vehicles. They do not have a factory capable of even merely assembling a few hundred pickup trucks annually from scratch. Yes, they WILL have an emissions certification task with this engine because the load profile is going to be much different. I can asssure you from recent experience with a simple single-cylinder ATV engine cert that… Read more »

Haha! Yep.

It’s *so* much easier to make an electric vehicle that it’s much more believable that an upstart can get it done.

Reminds me of this.

40 kWh at $150/kWh is just $6,000 per truck, in 2 years. 40 kWh at $100/kWh is just $4,000 per truck, in 3 or 4 years.

Graphite panels can be made by hand, or in a machine that costs under $100,000, and cycles 2 or more per minute.

The factory has a capacity of 60,000 chassis per year, already. Want to double that? Build a second factory! Or, expand that one with a second line!

I wonder who will be FTM, with a mass production truck.
If I was one of them I would just buy Workhorse Group and proceed from there.

I wonder what capabilities a Tesla pickup with 100kWh battery pack and AWD could deliver?

150-200 miles range?
Hauling capacity
Towing capacity

It seems like a battery-electric pickup truck isn’t too much of a stretch with the technology available today.

PHEV is still the best option for a truck especially if you plan on hauling anything, we will need 150kwhr to 200kwhr batteries for trucks that actually tow on a regular basis when you consider ranged would be halved when towing most commonly towed items.

I’d like to see a survey.

I’d not be surprised to see that long range towing is rare.

This would mostly cover occasional short range towing.

I don’t really consider 200 miles to be all that long range. You would be lucky to hit half of that with a 100kwhr battery under many of not most towing scenarios. But like you say it would be interesting to see the numbers, but from my own personal experience (mostly recreational use) 100 miles would not at all cut it for most towing scenarios.

Definitely agree. The minimum range for a larger vehicle like a pickup truck or an SUV is likely around 250 miles, and closer to 300 is getting in the middle of the ideal range.

Easy to figure out: calibrate a ScanGauge ( for an ICE Truck, without Load, note Fuel Use; track a 200 Mile Tow, track that fuel use, and compare!

EV energy us in Wh/Mile could be expected to vary similarly, as a ratio of empty to towing.


$52K? IN order to get 80 miles, it would have to have some serious battery. I would think it would need at least 60-70kWh if those range are measured under load (truck towing and hauling).

That is a lot of battery for only $52K.

A typical ICE trucks can be build as little as $20K (at volume).

So, if we take away the ICE power train, it will pay for the high power inverters and maybe the electric motors. Battery pack cost alone should be no more than $20K at 70kWh (at volume).

That leaves small margin at $52K. Now the problem is that most of those cost are estimated at volume. If they can get the volume, then it is doable. But if they can’t, then they will lose money on each and every truck.

I am curious what the payload and tow rating is and how much they impact the range.

It would be cool to see it beating a F-150/Ram/Silverado 1500 at “tug of war” on Youtube.

The down side is that of course at those price, one can get a loaded F-150/Silverado/Ram.

Yes because the Model X range is also rated under load. How in the heck could they ever realistically estimate what the load would be as everyone’s load would be different!

I suspect something more like a 35-40kWh battery would be in use which would allow them to make a profit more easily.

Vehicles like this really can make sense if they can price them right. No real need to try and bite off more than can be chewed right now with a pure BEV work truck. In the future sure possibly but right now PHEVs like this make more sense, again assuming they can be sold at a reasonable price.

I believe you are thinking corrrct DJ, and I would add that a pure electric pickup truck will only really make sense when there exists some decent coverage of 150-350 kW HPFC infrastructure.

So for Tesla with their Supercharger network they could do it relatively soon, when they get 350 kW functional at Supercharger sites, maybe within 24 months, but a CCS HPFC network the size of Tesla’s decent nationwide coverage now is likely to be in place around 2021 I predict.

“That leaves small margin at $52K. Now the problem is that most of those cost are estimated at volume.”

Exactly. There is no way a small startup company can possibly produce such a pickup in sufficient volume to bring the price down that far.

I’m glad to see there is some real interest in PHEV pickups, but such a vehicle sold in that price range will have to come from a company that’s beyond the startup stage.

Tesla has said it’s not interested in making PHEVs. I think it’s more likely that we’ll see a mass produced, full-sized PHEV pickup before a mass produced, full-sized BEV pickup.

With current battery tech, BEV pickups are going to lose range too fast when carrying a heavy load, or towing, to be able to compete well with gasmobile pickups. A PHEV pickup would compete better. When running with a light load it could depend on the battery pack, then switch to the gas motor when it’s hauling or towing.

Workhorse is about as far from a startup as you can get. They’ve been building box trucks and RV chassis for decades. I think they were once part of GM.

This product is probably very close to road ready already, and they just need to know how many to build our year, so they’re collecting letters of interest

Thank you for the correction, MT. I wasn’t familiar with the name, so mistakenly assumed it was a new company.

I see it has a Wikipedia page (link below). Looks like it’s a fairly low-volume vehicle manufacturer, concentrating on niche products: building chassis for step vans and RVs. I also see it has had financial problems and has been sold off twice in the last 12 years, so it looks like it’s struggling even within that niche.

My assertion that they can’t sell a full-sized BEV pickup at the quoted price stands. Regardless of how much experience the company has, it can’t change the economics of unit costs or the economy of scale.

Hmmm… 330 foot-lbs of torque, towing a ~3 ton trailer, using gas when required, used by the government. You just described the BMW X5 40e power-plant, which is exactly that. It’s been on the road since 2014. Now, I’ve been pretty vocal that BMWNA should offer a factory-authorized upgrade to ~35 AER, but that’s just a matter of slapping in new Samsung SDI batteries, which are the same form factor but denser.

BTW, the BMW X5 is regularly used as an “authority vehicle” (i.e., municipal vehicle) everywhere but the US. Hell, BMW has a web page dedicated to police use. A PHEV tow vehicle doesn’t take a startup; it’s been around for years.

Why all the speculation, when you can look at Workhorse’s website? They are already selling a step van that uses a similar (but not identical) drivetrain, see:
Battery is 60kWh. I suspect the bigger range of the pickup is because the van has a much larger GVWR, but it’ll be the same battery.
The van chassis is not new, and has been used on other trucks for years.
The ICE part of the drivetrain is much cheaper than you’d think:
1) It’s only used as a generator, and has no mechanical connection to the wheels, so no transmission etc. — a true series hybrid, just like the i3 REx.
2) In fact, the engine is the exact same one used in the i3 REx, sourced from BMW — a 650cc, 2-cylinder scooter engine. So, not expensive.

Now, I have no idea if they have enough funding for significant production — but fleet sales have a way of expanding very quickly, once you have a few satisfied customers.

Leaving out the question of funding for the moment, Workhorse simply doesn’t have the production capacity for a high volume of production. It’s a low-volume manufacturer, and there is no way such a company could sell a full-sized BEV pickup for the quoted price, because that price would require the economic advantage of high volume production.

See Realistic’s post above for details. Looks like he knows a lot more about Workhorse than either of us.

I’d buy this truck. This and a Model 3 and I’d be set!

By issuing shares at $3 and thus tanking their stock from $6, WKHS was able to raise about $19M net (at the time they were standing at <$500k on hand).

With today's announcement WKHS is at $1.86.

They won't survivie a vehicle launch.
The company is doomed.

Enjoy the new truck.

That’s hardly ever, like never, a good idea. They certainly got hammered today, down 12.83%
So, yeah, not looking too good.

The critics on this page need to look at the trucks they build today.

This is not meant to compete with F-150. It will be a very plain bare bones work truck. I’m sure the basic truck without drivetrain will be way less than $20k.

They also rely on other companies to build the bodies so they don’t actually need the tooling to build the truck from scratch.

Don’t count on retail sales any time soon.

Also don’t count on a BEV. The utilities that are interested in this type of truck want a rolling generator to provide power during repairs of the grid.

It would be hard for them to get a glider truck frame and body to then make it an Electric. The generator would not be clean and comply with emissions so that would also be a problem.

Would FORD want to offer a glider to help others when they are making a hybrid F150 themselves. This could be full of problems and delays.

Meanwhile Tesla can take a Model X and change the body and they have a X150 Pick Up.

The problem with a BEV pickup is charging.
Most people that have a legit reason for buying a pickup – contractor, camping, boating, hauling stuff to the cottage, etc, etc often cannot use destination charging (no grid) and it may be a long time until the charger network reaches them.

I went on a 2000K trip with my F-150 last year. There were NO DC fast chargers on the route and two stops were powered by generator.

BEVs will remain for city and high traffic corridors for quite some time.

IMHO – the market for an EV truck is HUGE. Ford & GM better get on it or they will lose their honey hole……

It is pretty obvious to me that a pretty large majority of pickups in the US are mostly used as commuter vehicles with occasional use hauling things/loads in the bed and even more rarely used to tow boats/trailers.

I think a nice looking aerodynamic BEV pickup with 150 miles range unloaded could do well at a reasonable price (50k ish) and I’m pretty sure this is where Tesla will go initially.

Not to say that a well executed PHEV truck like this proposed Workhorse couldn’t also do well, especially for work trucks but I assume that about when Tesla brings out their BEV pickup then the Detroit big 3 will finally get serious and bring out Voltec type trucks.

I just don’t think they will though without external pressure from a disrupter like Tesla or perhaps a Workhorse type startup if they can get into production.