U.S. firm Workhorse has debuted its W-15: the automotive industry’s first electric pickup truck built from the ground up. Other electric pickup trucks have been made in the past, but the W-15 is the first that was not converted from an existing truck.
While the truck appears to be more of a hybrid than a pure electric vehicle, many automotive pundits are claiming the Workhorse W-15 will compete against Tesla’s electric pickup truck once it hits the market. Like Tesla, Workhorse built its own 60-kWh battery pack with lithium-ion cells. On a full charge, Workhorse says the battery pack is good for about 130 km of all-electric driving. Charging a depleted battery takes seven to eight hours.
The battery is mounted under the vehicle, where it doubles as the truck’s frame. Front and rear subframes, each with an electric motor, single-speed reduction gearbox, and a fully independent coil-spring suspension, are mounted to the frame. Up front, a BMW-sourced three-cylinder gasoline engine acts a generator producing 50 kW of electricity to charge the battery or drive the electric motors.
The bed and entire truck body are made from CFRP, which Workhorse says keeps the overall weight of the vehicle under 5,000 lbs. Workhorse adds the W-15 has a payload rating of 2,200 lbs, which is comparable to what traditional heavy-duty trucks offer. Workhorse says the gas engine never drives the truck directly but leaves that up to electric motors at both axles that give the W-15 traction.
Production is set to start in late 2018, with Workhorse planning a future lineup expansion that will include other configurations and heavier-duty W-25 and W-35 models.