Workhorse Starts Building Lightweight Electric Step Vans for UPS

October 19, 2018 by Alan Adler, @AlanAdler

Workhorse Group Inc. has begun building its lightweight electric step van that it says can carry a class-leading 6,000 pounds and go 100 miles before recharging.

The first trucks off the line in Union City, Ind., will be delivered to UPS as part of a 50-truck test fleet. If UPS likes the performance, it will complete an order for 950 trucks that it placed in June. Workhorse said it had other orders for early production but declined to name the customers.

The NGEN-1000, which gets the equivalent of 40 mpg, weighs 10,001 pounds fully loaded and 4,000 pounds empty. The cost to travel 100 miles would be about $6 based on the national average cost of just over 10 cents per kilowatt hour.

Workhorse says the curb weight is less than half that of a traditional diesel-powered van because it is made of composite body panels, flooring and support structures instead of steel. That allowed Workhorse to reduce the size of the battery pack to 60 kilowatt hours instead of the 120-KwH pack used in its larger E-100 electric truck, said Duane Hughes, Workhorse’s president.

The weight comparison to a diesel-powered van “might be a bit of an exaggeration,” said Sam Abuelsamid, a Navigant Research analyst. “It depends on which diesel van they are comparing it to.”

The Ford Transit 250 delivery van, a close competitor to the NGEN-1000, weighs 9,000 pounds loaded and 5,000 pounds unloaded.

“A 6,000-pound payload is very impressive,” Abuelsamid said. “But how much range are you going to give up with a full load versus when empty?”

Hughes said that depends on several factors, including route conditions, topography and driving style.

The 100-mile range should be enough for the van to operate in a 25- to 30-mile radius of a depot where it could recharge.

“I think it’s a viable product,” said Antti Lindstrom, a trucking analyst with IHS Markit. “One hundred miles should be good enough for drop-off and door-to-door delivery and to get back to the depot.”

Workhorse says the purchase price of the NGEN-1000 is the same as that for a similar-sized diesel van. However, it did not provide pricing for the NGEN-1000 or for 250- 450- and 700-cubic-foot cargo options coming later.

The van qualifies for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500, according to U.S. Department of Energy guidelines for plug-in electric vehicles. But Hughes said pricing would not assume a federal tax rebate. The lightweight composition of the van and smaller battery pack reduce total ownership cost, he said.

The NGEN-1000 is less expensive to maintain because it has no transmission or engine to service, according to Workhorse.

Workhorse says its larger E-100 van saves $150,000 over its 20-year lifecycle compared with a conventionally powered van. The savings come from a 400 percent reduction in fuel costs and 60 percent cut in maintenance costs.

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7 Responses

  1. Larry4pyro

    I wonder if a range extender version capable of long haul operations will be offered? Such a vehicle with its tremendous electric generation and storage would be a great start for a motorhome with plenty of power for fridges, microwaves, A/C already built-in, plus AWD, a low floor, great fuel economy and better reliability. Workhorse claims they’ve upsized the range extender in the upcoming W-15 pickup to handle continuous highway operations at full load, how about a slightly more powerful unit for the NGEN.

  2. JR Dempsey

    Couldn’t WKHS at least provide a better fake picture to Trucks? Paste this picture into a viewer and look at lighting and shadows. It’s not real.

    Workhorse is near death.

    They owe $7M+ of Senior debt to Arosa Capital for a Loan that securitizes every bit of property they own, both real and IP. All of it. They have more than $4M or late payables due. Cash on hand is somewhere between $1-2M, which includes a couple of hundred $k of deposits that they can’t spend (or at least shouldn’t). There’s not enough working capital to build 50 trucks, and barely enough to met payroll and power bills for a few more months.

    Revenue for the first half of the year was <$750k total, and Q3 will be in abut th same pace. There is no source of cash and nothing on which they can borrow.

    Stick a fork in it. Tender and definitely DONE.

  3. James Emerson

    The image is clearly not of a physical truck. There is no driver side mirror, there is no seat or steering wheel visible, the interior partition is odd, there is background visible in the wheel well, the left tire seems suspended from the ground. seems to be a dupe in a stock price manipulation scheme.

    As the previous comment highlights, this company is in dire financial straits. While an electric delivery truck is intriguing, it is doubtful that this company actually launched commercial production. Also note that the company hasn’t identified any buyer which has been their practice in the past, even for small orders.

  4. Steve

    Non – DOT approved headlamps. Dirt, snow, etc will fill up the cavity preventing light. This may or may not be a fake photo, but it is definitely not a road worthy vehicle. Don’t you need a driver seat? Wouldn’t a real vehicle release have more than one picture? Perhaps editing multiple pictures would blow the budget?


    12/12/18 comment ON WORKHORSE ELECTRIC VAN.

    I am wondering about the cost to drive 100miles which is stated as $6 for a cost per kwh of $0.10 and a eqmpg of 40. That means it needs 2.5 eqg of electric power. Now the eqg of kwh is 38kwh so at $0.10/kwh that gives a cost of $3.80/eqg and 2.5 qqg would cost is $9.50 not $6.00.

    Now it is true that at $0.10/kwh it would cost just $6.00 to charge a 60kwh battery. So if one were to drive 100miles on 60kwh then it follows the eqmpg would be 100/(60/38=1.57 gallons) or about 63eqmpg. Now just to put things into perspective the Model S Tesla is reported to get 200miles from a 60kwh battery and 125eqmg which is double the range and double the eqmpg of the van.

    So the question is does the van actually get 63eqmpg and go 100miles on a 60kwh battery that would cost $6.00 to charge at $0.10/kwh? Or does it get 40eqmpg and only go 63miles on a charge of 60kwh? 40*(60/38=1.57 gallons)=63? In which case it would cost $9.50 to go 100miles and need a half additional charge to make it through 100miles.

    Now this brings up another question. If one were to have a fleet of 10 of these and charge them overnight, a time of use meter for charging should be able to get the cost down to more like 1/3 of $0.10/kwh or about say $0.03/kwh which would bring the cost to charge the 60kwh battery down to just $1.80 and a cost per 100 miles of just $0.018/mile. Now that is a real savings as the cost of an eqg would be just 38*$0.03= $1.14/eqg. So ten vans running 5 days per week using 60kwh/day would use 10*60*5=3000kwh/week and 52*3000= 156,000kwh annually for a fuel cost of $4,680, which is just $468 per truck for driving 100*5*52= 26,000miles. Now that makes cents!

    Gasoline at $2.50/g and a mileage of say 20mpg, being very generous, would cost 2.50*(26000/20=1300gallons)= $3,250/van. Now the savings for fuel would be 85.6%!
    {100*(1-468/3250)= 100*(1-.144)=100*0.856=85.6%}

    Just saying, TJ

  6. Bill Esposto

    Been trying to find a company to purchase electric step-vans, or convert current fleet of 10 vans to electric. Even contacted Workhorse about their trucks. However they will not answer any of my questions and/place an order. 10 years ago was ready to convert to NCG trucks, CARB wouldn’t certify the conversions. We now are researching hybrid and/or electric step-vans. We are a perfect company for this, our routes are about 100-120 miles a day our loads are light (baked goods).
    Very committed to change but cannot find a company that can do this. If anyone can direct me in the right direction, please do. Yes I think Workhorse is on it’s way out and would be interested in purchasing their technology and/or factory when they file for bankruptcy.Please Advise


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