Fledgling electric truck manufacturer Workhorse Group reached a deal to have fleet management giant Ryder System Inc. sell and service its line of vehicles.

Ryder will distribute Workhorse delivery trucks and an electric pickup truck in North America, as well as provide warranty and maintenance work.

Signing a major company in the fleet management and truck leasing business to be its sales and service agent represents a vote of confidence in the Loveland, Ohio, truck startup, Stephen Burns, Workhorse’s chief executive, told Trucks.com.

“With Ryder, we can bring our leading-edge, range-extended electric vehicle technology to a larger base of businesses that are looking to improve efficiencies, save on fueling costs and get better performance from their fleets,” Burns said.

Ryder is constantly examining new and alternative technology commercial vehicles but only reaches partnerships with companies it believes will be successful, said Scott Perry, the company’s chief technology and procurement officer.

“We feel good about the products Workhorse has put together,” Perry said.

Ryder is known for rolling out alternative technology commercial vehicles, Burns said.

Last year, Ryder signed a similar agreement to be the North American maintenance and distribution partner for Nikola Motor, a Salt Lake City startup developing the Nikola One hydrogen fuel cell semi-truck.

Nikola’s hydrogen fuel cell semi-truck is expected to have a range of 800 to 1,200 miles and achieve an equivalent of 15 to 20 mpg with zero emissions.

But Nikola won’t have a working prototype ready until 2019. Construction on a manufacturing and research and development center will take four to five years, according to Nikola. Nikola also plans to build a highway network of hydrogen filling stations to service the trucks.

Workhorse, which already produces an electric delivery truck, has a contract to provide UPS with more than 300 vehicles.

The company is scheduled to unveil a working prototype of its W-15 electric pickup truck at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach, Calif., Tuesday. Workhorse says it already has nonbinding commitments for 2,150 trucks, or about $113 million worth of business, and expects more to be announced during the expo this week.

The W-15 will offer 460 horsepower and have an 80-mile range that will be supplemented by a gas engine that generates electricity to extend the total range. Workhouse did not provide specific details. The truck will have an estimated 75 MPGe fuel efficiency rating in all-electric operation.

All-wheel drive will be a standard feature as well as active safety systems, including collision alert with automatic braking and lane-departure warning.

The truck will have a composite body with carbon fiber panels. It will come in a double cab with a standard bed configuration. Workhorse is packing the W-15 with a 7.2 kW power system that allows tools to be plugged directly into the battery power source without the truck running.

It will have the same ground clearance as a standard pickup. The towing capability is targeted at 5,500 pounds, and the truck will have a receiver hitch built into the custom chassis. It will handle a payload of up to 2,200 pounds.

About The Author

Jerry Hirsch

Jerry Hirsch is a veteran business journalist who is Editor and Vice President of Content of Trucks.com. Prior to joining Trucks.com, Hirsch was nationally known as the automotive writer for the Los Angeles Times. His work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, San Diego Union-Tribune, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, the Toronto Star, Consumers Digest and many other publications. He can be found on Twitter: @JerryHirsch.

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