Earlier this year, Workhorse deployed two N-Gen cargo vans in a pilot program in San Francisco. The company is delivering approximately 270 packages a day for a local firm. Burns says the next batch of N-Gen vans will likely roll out elsewhere in California, then Ohio. In the contract with UPS, Workhorse is designing and deploying 50 larger N-Gen vans with 1,000-cubic-foot bays and up to 5,000 pounds of cargo capacity.
“Our goal is to make it easy for UPS and others to go electric by removing prior roadblocks to large scale acceptance, such as cost,” says Burns. “While consumers typically look at the initial purchase price [of vehicles], a fleet looks at the purchase price plus eight years of fuel and maintenance.” Burns says that Workhorse’s vehicles are less expensive in total cost of ownership than standard pickup trucks or cargo vans.
As he looks across the transportation industry, Burns believes the combination of electric drive trains and composite monocoques in Workhorse’s commercial vehicles is unique – and cost-effective. The battery of electric vehicles is the most expensive component. Lightweighting vehicles means less battery, which keeps the price point down.
“We needed the weight savings, and we didn’t want to go with aluminum because of all the tooling and replacement costs,” says Burns. “Composites just seem like a natural fit. We’re surprised more vehicles aren’t made like this.”