This certainly isn’t a drab workhorse
WORKHORSE Group Incorporated, a builder of hybrid bakkie and delivery vans in Ohio in the U.S., has revealed the Workhorse 15 — said to be the first electric bakkie designed for the fleet market.
It features a Tesla-style power train with Panasonic lithium-ion batteries between the axles and BMW’s little “Rex” two-cylinder, 647 cc petrol engine from the i3 up front, to help give the Workhorse a claimed range of some 644 km.
The group is also making panelvans for UPS and delivery drones, but its W-15 pickup is designed from the ground-up to offer crisp styling, with clean driving and a cabin focused on technology.
In the U.S., the W-15 has competition from other range-extended bakkies, like VIA Motors’ converted Silverado and Wrightspeed’s gas turbine small trucks.
The W-15 offers power to all four wheels, thanks to an electric motor on each axle that provides 343 kW combined power.
The tray of thousands of small Panasonic lithium-ion cells provides an all- electric range of 129 km and the BMW petrol engine adds another 500 km. Using the electric motors to crawl in city traffic and the fuel engine to drive on open roads, Workhorse estimates fuel economy at between 7,4 to 8,4 l/100 km.
What will impress any Nissan Navara and Ford Ranger buyer in SA most is, however, the acceleration.
Working on the 0-60 mile per hour, the Workhorse 15 bakkie should do a sub-six second run from 0 to 100 km.
There is a decent one ton payload too, and five seats big enough for Americans. A 7,2-kW socket plugs directly into the battery pack to power electric tools.
“Our team designed the W-15 not only for exceptional performance, but also the lowest total cost of ownership, the lowest emissions profile, and with state of the art autonomous controls and telematics,” Workhorse CEO Steve Burns explains. “We have listened to fleet engineers, managers and drivers in order to deliver the best pickup truck for com- mercial use, from cost of ownership, to functionality, to performance and, above all else, safety and dependability for the driver.”
The W-15 features technologies like lane departure warning, collision avoidance/auto braking, and interior touchscreen controls with the Workhorse Metron telematics system streamlining fleet tracking and management.
Like most American bakkies — or trucks as they call them over there — the W-15 bakkie is almost six metres long, and two metres wide and has 305 mm of ground clearance.
Workhorse said at the ACT Expo it plans to begin production in late 2018 and already has over 4 500 pre-order letters of intent from commercial vehicle fleets.
“Our team designed the W-15 not only for exceptional performance, but also the lowest total cost of ownership ...”
The Workhorse 15 is a lightning fast electric bakkie sold with BMW’s tiny two-cylinder Rex engine to help extend its range and a focus on technology in the cab (inset).