Truck buyers will get charge out of Workhorse

5-seat, 4-door extended cab dedicated electric pickup is called W-15

Published: November 14, 2016, 4:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 3:22 PM

Workhorse W-15

The world’s first all electric pickup may be only a year or so away, and it’s literally a Workhorse.

Ohio company Workhorse has unveiled sketches of a 5-seat, 4-door extended cab dedicated electric pickup it calls the W-15, which could come to market as soon as 2018.

The idea of a commercial grade vehicle to haul loads over short distances is not new, with some companies even employing heavy-duty vehicles for around-town deliveries, and even Workhorse is known for creating chasses for various applications (counting companies such as UPS, Penske and the US Postal Service among its clients), but this is may be first known dedicated electric pickup to come to market (though Tesla also reportedly has one in the works).

The W-15 uses two electric motors (one in the rear and one in the front) to deliver all-wheel drive, as well as a range extender engine to provide more driving range. Using Panasonic lithium-ion batteries, the W-15 has a reported electric range of over 125 km (actually 80 miles) with the ability to go about 500 km once the engine kicks in.

The platform will be a traditional truck ladder frame with the batteries located between the rails, running nearly the full length of the wheelbase.

The current Workhorse E-Gen powertrain uses a 60 kWh battery, one 200 kW TM4 (a subsidiary of Hydro-Quebec) motor, and a BMW 647-cc 2-cylinder engine. Not many details were released about the powertrain of the new pickup, but we’d expect smaller electric motors and a larger battery (the current E-Gen range is about 100 km). We’d also expect a bigger fuel tank, as the current E-Gen system only adds another 50 km with the range-extending engine.

The company is right now rating the powertrain at 8.8 L/100 km in the city and 10.1 on the highway; the electric equivalency is 3.8 L/100 km. But more importantly for pickup owners, it’s targeting payload at 1,000 kg (2200 lbs.) and towing at 2,720 kg (6,000 lbs.).

“We believe this will be the first plug-in range-extended electric pickup truck built from the ground up by an OEM in America. It’s not a conversion vehicle,” said Workhorse CEO, Steve Burns, adding that the company expects to, as with its current vehicles, fleets will probably make up the bulk of pickup purchases, more so than individual consumers.