Electric Vehicle Maker Workhorse to Unveil its Next-Gen Electric Delivery Van

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【Summary】Electric vehicle manufacturer Workhorse Group Inc. is hosting a private event this week for a group of current and prospective customers to unveil the latest test version of its next generation electric delivery vehicle.

Eric Walz    Dec 11, 2019 1:15 PM PT
Electric Vehicle Maker Workhorse to Unveil its Next-Gen Electric Delivery Van

Electric vehicle manufacturer Workhorse Group Inc., which is focused on building electric delivery vehicles for commercial customers, is hosting a private event this week for a group of current and prospective customers to unveil the latest test version of its next generation electric delivery vehicle (EDV).

The fully-electric delivery van is called the C1000. The "C" references the vehicle's "composite" body while the numeral indicates the cubic feet of the van's cargo volume. The production-intent C1000 will be the first vehicle built by Workhorse, while its smaller C650 sister model will follow shortly thereafter.

The event will be held on Tuesday at the Transportation Research Center (TRC) in East Liberty, OH, the largest independent vehicle test facility in the U.S. Prospective customers can attend a series of educational lectures to learn more about the C1000 electric van. They will also be able to perform hands-on inspections and test drives.

"We are continuing to make real progress as we enter the final pre-production stages with our C1000 electric delivery vehicle," said Company CEO Duane Hughes. "This event provides a great opportunity for us to consult with, and receive feedback from, some of our existing customers as we work together to put the first of many Workhorse EDVs on the road. We also took this opportunity to introduce a group of new potential buyers to the  C1000, and we're excited to continue those conversations."

The C1000 EDV features a 100% structural composite body and frame, which eliminates more than 4,000 pounds of weight compared to a conventional, internal combustion vehicle while carrying the same cargo volume and payload. The vans can carry 6,0000 lbs of cargo. Workhorse says the vehicles have a minimum 20-year life expectancy for the body and frame.

This weight advantage, combined with its ultra-low floor to make it easier for drivers to get in and out of, creates ergonomic and cost-saving benefits to make the electric delivery vans an alternative to traditional fleet delivery vehicles. 

Commercial customers can also add advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), including collision avoidance, lane departure warnings, 360-view cameras and other safety features. An optional "cold weather" package provides all-wheel drive (AWD) and enhanced interior heating for use in colder climates.

By switching to electric vehicles, fleet operators can significantly reduced total cost of ownership per vehicle through a potential 500%+ improvement in fuel efficiency with fewer maintenance needs, according to Workhorse.

Since the vans are fully-electric, they have no engine, transmission, fuel or exhaust system to maintain. In addition, the vans have advanced regenerative braking which reduce wear on the hydraulic brakes. The vans also feature Modular battery technology which allows for optimizing battery capacity. The electric vans have a 100 mile range.

Workhorse developed a unique "rear suspension cradle" for the vans that designed for easier maintenance. The entire assembly containing the rear suspension components and electric motor can dropped from the vehicle by removing just a few bolts. A replacement cradle can be quickly installed if needed to reduce down time.

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A smaller electric delivery van. (Photo: Workhorse)

In 2018, U.S. delivery company United Parcel Service (UPS) committed to buying 950 Workhorse delivery vans, which was one of the largest electric vehicle orders in the U.S. The order was on top of an existing request for 50 custom-built electric vehicles.The deal is part of a UPS strategy of having one quarter of its vehicles powered by electric or alternative fuel by 2020.

Workhorse Drone

In addition to electric delivery vehicles, Workhorse developed a small drone designed to work with its van for more efficient last-mile delivery. The company's Horsefly drone Is a custom built, high-efficiency hexacopter that is fully integrated with its electric delivery trucks.

The drone setup features a control center for an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) operator and an auto-launch and landing system located on the vehicle's rooftop. The system is designed so that a driver or driver's assistant can maintain line-of-sight operation of the UAV delivery process. The HorseFly drone can fly autonomously and is built tough to undergo the rigors of commercial day to day delivery operations.

Last month, Workhorse launched a pilot drone delivery program in the San Diego area with its electric van and Horsefly drone in partnership with Unmanned Systems Operations Group, Inc. (USOG), a provider of unmanned mobile medical delivery for healthcare providers, pharmacies, and medical courier services.

Workhorse also develops cloud-based, real-time telematics monitoring systems that is fully integrated with its vehicles.It enable fleet operators to optimize energy and route efficiency.

Workhorse is currently in negotiations with General Motors to purchase its shuttered Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant to build its vehicles. GM closed the plant earlier this year after the automaker discontinued the Chevy Cruze sedan that was built there. 

In May, President Trump prematurely tweeted that Workhorse was buying the former GM plant, although its hasn't been confirmed by either Workhorse or GM. The tweet resulted in shares of Workhorse increasing by 214%, from 82 cents per share up to $2.65. 

The public company is listed on the NASDAQ under the symbol "WKHS." The company's stock was trading at $2.75 on Monday.

In June, Workhorse entered into subscription agreements for a private offering with a group of institutional investors, which raised $25 million.

The company will be holding a conference call on Nov 8 to update on its current production efforts and share its financial results for the third quarter of 2019.

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