2018 Workhorse W-15 Review: First Look and Drive

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In a part of the automotive universe where Elon Musk and Tesla seem to be driving the electric vehicle conversations, a small company called the Workhorse Group looks like it will be ready to offer the world's first extended-range electric pickup truck later this year. The Tesla pickup will not be ready for a couple more years.

Called the W-15, it was unveiled today at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Long Beach, Calif., The 5,000-pound all-new truck slots right into with the heart-of-the-market crew-cab half-ton pickup class with a wheelbase of 143 inches and an overall length of just less than 20 feet. Although a touch larger than the Honda Ridgeline, the W-15, with its four-wheel independent suspension, looks wider than most pickups by 5 or 6 inches, especially from the rear. In fact, the bed is 6 feet long and wider than any of the existing competitors in the class.

Although the electric powertrain uses 6,000 Panasonic batteries, there is a small three-cylinder engine under the hood to juice up the batteries when they run low on power. Similar to the powertrains of the Chevrolet Volt or VIA Motors' full-size pickups, this extended-range strategy combines gas and electric sources to power the W-15.

The W-15's massive battery pack is located between the frame rails of the truck; it has two electric motors that power the front and rear wheels independently or in tandem. When battery levels get below a certain point, the gas engine kicks in to provide juice (like a generator) to the battery pack, which in turn continues to power the electric motors. The W-15 has a plug-in port for charging or it can allow the gas motor to do all the charging as needed while driven.

To save weight, all the W-15's body panels are made from carbon fiber composite. The truck has eight-lug axles that will be used in Workhorse's W-25 and W-35 models. Also, since it has its own onboard power source, the truck also can generate power wherever it goes, such as a campsite or on the driveway when the power goes out in the house.

The W-15 has a gross vehicle weight rating of 7,200 pounds, which translates into 2,200 pounds of payload capacity (significantly more than most of the half-ton players), and it has a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds (a good amount less than most half-ton pickups).

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As to fuel range, Workhorse says the W-15 can go about 80 miles on electric-only power, while the 11-gallon gas tank can provide another 310 miles depending on load. Total power output between the two electric motors and the gas engine is calculated to be around 460 horsepower, which allows it to hit zero-to-60 mph in 5.5 seconds. Fuel economy is estimated at an mpg-equivalent of 75, with a range-extending mpg of 28 highway and 32 city.

Since the truck is mostly controlled by electronics, traction, we were told, could be settings that allow for separate front-wheel, rear-wheel or all-wheel-drive modes, depending on the environment. Workhorse says this high-tech pickup will have the latest safety technology, including collision avoidance, automatic emergency braking (up to 45 mph) and lane departure warning.

While not yet production ready, the W-15 concept we drove was close to what the final version of the pickup should be. We took it for a spin in a parking lot and our first impression is that the W-15 has some impressive abilities and capabilities. The quietness of the cabin is almost unnerving, and the wide-open interior and large information screens are reminiscent of the Ridgeline, with its smooth dash and large center console. Front and rear electric motors mean the front and rear floors are flat.

Hit the accelerator and the response is impressive for something of this size, although we did not push the pickup too hard. We did get a clear sense of how stable the truck feels as it accelerates and corners. Without a transmission, there are no shift points and no need to watch a tachometer, which we also found unnerving. As with any concept, there were the expected creaks and groans, and the electric steering will be tricky for a vehicle that could potentially carry more than a ton of payload in the bed.

The Workhorse Group already has a few thousand orders for the W-15, with more likely to come as fleet buyers see how the truck performs in the real world. Offered in just one trim level, the W-15 will have a few options available to accommodate different types of buyers. Workhorse does not have a dealership network in place right now, but it does have a relationship with Ryder Industries for distribution, service and maintenance.

Pricing for the W-15 will start at $52,500 (destination fees do not apply to this truck), and it will likely start going to customers later this year.

Workhorse's production facility in Union City, Ind., is reported to be capable of building close to 60,000 units a year. If that happens, you're likely to see more W-15s on the road than Tesla pickups by a wide margin.

Cars.com photos by Mark Williams; manufacturer images

 

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Comments

I'm not a fan of the styling.
This is probably a good representation of the new GM twins. Definitely not the front end though.

Ridgeline meets Sierra.

So that's the 2019 Silverado, lol hahahahahahahahahahaha. WOW, it's even uglier than the current. A task even I thought impossible.

My suspicions fall in line with the comments coming from FXDX1450 and C. Norris, based on the cover-up of the upcoming 2019 GM Trucks, they do to a degree speak the language on the appearance of this Work Horse model here, but lets hope that we are all deceived and GM is far more advanced in styling, especially with the 2019 RAM, Tundra along with the 2020 F-150 and Tesla Model U not too far behind with some possible bold exterior designs yet to be seen. I have to give good remarks though to this truck with the EV/Gasoline Power Combination of 460 HP.

234-235" is the length of a garage. 20 feet misses the target, and the front end only has a three cylinder and an e-motor.

390 miles total combined range?! Only 5,000 lbs towing?! You'd be ahead of the game buying a Tacoma, Frontier, or even 2.7 ecoboost. Electric fails again!

Does come with a "SHAKY MODE". hahahahahahaha.

Talk about loosy good article. They say touch larger than Ridgeline. Ridgeline is 210" long. Then they say just shy of 20'. Well 20' = 240". 30" delta. Then the pictures clearly show the crew cab isn't really that big. So with a 6' bed and a small crew area, just shy of 20' would equate to a really long hood, and it doesn't look longer than an F150 so I'll stop talking and just wait until firmer numbers come out. Extended range does make it interesting.

Amazing truck..

So that's the 2019 Silverado, lol hahahahahahahahahahaha
Posted by: FXDX1450 | May 2, 2017 8:45:33 PM

No you crack piped 2 grade educated junkie. It's the Workhorse W-15, if only you knew how to read. Common Fordtards, dumber than a box of rocks.

Finally, this is exactly what we need. Personally, I will need the W-35 with the 1000 Horsepower and much larger payload and towing, but most people will want this W-15. 32 mpg and 460 horsepower and 2000 lbs of payload! My family does not have to purchase a generator for the house as backup, and I can take electric tools anywhere. Man, rage against all you vested interests that are trying to hold these truck back, because they are the future and THEY ARE HERE!

If they can get the price down to the high $40s then sign me up. It has all the capacity I need, and more than enough battery range for 90% of driving. Plus it can still pull the boat to the lake, or the atv and ice fishing gear.

Looks like a future government fleet vehicle.

Ford fan girls are literally THE WORST. Wow.

Giant golf cart. NO WAY.

@Voltage

If you consider the $7,500 federal tax credit, this truck would cost you $45,000. Some states have up to $5,000 rebates on EVs, making this truck $40,000, depending on where you live. If you live in the ConEd territory (New York), they'll pay you $0.05 per kWh for charging your EV during off-peak hours (over night). There are lots of ways to save on your initial and operating costs of EVs.

The only thing about this that most likely accurately represents the 2019 GM twins is the cab structure and door skins. The chassis, bed, front clip and interior are all Workhorse design and sourced. In all reality, the 2019 GM twins are pretty much a technology update and reskin using the existing cab, not a ground up new truck. Best of luck to Workhorse but I can pretty much guarantee you there are no “few thousand orders” in the hopper for this thing. That is Steve Burns being a sells guy that he is talking up the thing to appease investors. I’m pretty sure he is on the same drugs as Elon Musk although I am glad WH beat Tesla to market with a truck even if it is a stillborn.

The front and taillights look like Ford. The wheel arches and rear bumper look like GM. But those are where the similarities end. Big 3 don't use "stainless" steel frames, nor carbon fiber composite bodies. The battery is from Panasonic (same as in the Teslas). The range-extending gas engine is sourced from BMW. Nothing about the rest of this truck speaks to the Big 3.

@Guest,
I am aware of the rebates. Unfortunately my state doesn't have any incentives, and I only qualify for about half of the federal deduction due to my income and other current deductions.

This actually looks very chevy-esk, plain, boring, outdated and not a number 1 seller

Johnny doe, always angry or upset about something.

gay

This "thing" may be seen as necessary for CA to help solve its pollution dilemma, but as a general truck in the rest of the USA, ...um..I don't think so.

For the same ~$52K*, you can buy a 2017 Ram 2500 Diesel Crew Cab that has a 500-mile range, has a manual transmission, can tow 16,450 lbs, can haul 2,630 lbs, and has 660 lb.-ft of torque**, and gets about 20 mpg on diesel at $2.53 where I live. (And it even has a nice "truck-like" exhaust sound.)

In fact, I just did.

If it weren't for the LARGE artificial tax credits, rebates, and incentives, this W-15 glorified golf cart wouldn't have a chance in Texas, for example....or Montana...or South Carolina...or, well, you get the idea...

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* About $49,700 with the $2K rebate.
**With the auto transmission, it would have 900 lb.-ft of torque. ----------------

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@NMGOM
Yes, for the same money, you can buy the Ram, but then you spend several hundred dollars in fuel every year, plus a few hundred on oil changes, plus new brakes and plugs every 5 years. Shall I go on?
All of these things are irrelevant in an electric truck. Electricity cost in peanuts compared to fuel, and unless you used the engine a lot, you'd be changing the oil once every 2 years. The friction brakes would likely last 10+ years, because regenerative braking takes most of the load.

What happens if you ford a stream or launch a boat? Does it burst into flames like a Volt?

Make it regular cab and 8 foot bed and Im there..
Whine and sneer all you frodnatics and rambozos,,this here is the future!

Big 3 better get into the EV game pronto or else

With the Work Horse in the stages of production model development and the Tesla Model U due out within the same timeline or shortly after the 2020 F-150 arrives, we'll all soon have to come to grips that GM, RAM, Toyota, Nissan and Ford, will have to get more innovative with more advanced Power-Train options that include EV capability as we propel into the 2020 decade, especially with Autonomous Technology as well as Flying Automobiles are now starting to come to the horizon that is set for the next upcoming decade. Yes the 5.3, 5.7, 6.0. 6.2, 6.4, 6.6 and 6.7 Liter engines are awesome choices, but going beyond what the nation is already familiar with when it comes to those choices...it's time to turn that page towards the next chapter of options while at the same time, not compromising Power, Towing and Hauling, we'll see what the Model U has to bring to the table in terms of numbers and then we'll know if most of America is ready for and EV Full Sized Truck.

Voltage and Chevrolet - - -

Sorry. I'll stand firm on this prediction: No EV trucks would be accepted as general purpose, long duration, hard working vehicles (often Off-Road) OUTSIDE of CA, --- for at least 20 years.

Oil changes and fuel consumption are just part of the "gestalt". Once you accept that, Ram 2500 Diesel ownership is a piece 'o cake. (No spark plugs needed for diesel.)

As you can see from the W-15 description above, an ICE has to be included anyway(!) as a "range extender" [READ: hybrid], or this "thing" would fall on its ugly face right out of the gate, ---even in CA.

A huge advantage of ICE's of any type is that they don't have to carry both the fuel (reducing agent) and oxidizer with them. The oxidizer is automatically furnished by oxygen in the atmosphere. Batteries are heavy; expensive; prone to overheating under load; very ineffective at cold (-20 dg F) temperatures; costly to replace; and power electric motors whose torque curve decreases with RPM, just when more oomph is needed going up hills. And, as Tim points out (above), you'd better be REALLY careful about getting the vehicle immersed to the floor pan in a stream!

What I do see as a next step in lowered CO2-emission-ICE's is the greater use of CNG (compressed natural gas). We have a gazillion tons of it, its cheap, it burns VERY cleanly, it can be stored safely and efficiently, and its source doesn't rely on OPEC's oil production. In addition, it can be made synthetically using Audi's CO2-neutral "E-gas" project:
http://www.autoblog.com/2013/07/08/audi-opens-renewable-energy-e-gas-plant-in-germany/

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CORRECTION:

"Oil changes and fuel consumption are just part of the "gestalt"." --- should be changed to --- "For ICE's, oil changes and fuel consumption are just part of the "gestalt"."

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I predict that the 2020 Ford F-150 hybrid would be like most hybrid cars today, with both ICE and electric motors driving the wheels.

I also predict that the Tesla Model U would be electric only if Musk has anything to say about it.

Where the Workhorse W-15 differs is that it is driven by electric motors only (just like the Teslas), with ICE serving strictly as a generator to charge the battery and never driving the wheels. Unlike most of the hybrids, this is more similar to the Chevy Volt and the BMW i3.

I agree that EV is the future. We are still at the infancy stage of mass produced car battery technology, and it's already very competitive with ICE technology that's been around for over a century. Another iteration or 2 of battery advancements would render ICE obsolete for cars.

A couple of decades from now, our great/grand kids would look back and wonder why we would ever propel our transportation by creating mini explosions from igniting highly flammable liquids thousands of times a minute. It's one of those marvel engineering that belongs in the museums.

@Tim Himmelberger
Do some research. The Volt doesn't burst into flames. There was a single fire in a test vehicle, after a very serious crash test, and the car was left on it's roof for a week. The only other fire I have ever seen reference to is in a serious rear end collision where the 12V battery was the fault.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSt2lzoLvqM&ab_channel=Chevrolet2Day

Everything is sealed, and you can drive through 2ft of water with no problem.

The technology is going to have to mature more for me to be interested. How many years before I have to replace the batteries? How much capacity is lost in say 5 yrs? 80 miles today could be 40 miles in a couple of years. Can it tow and haul the same weight under the extended range mode? How deep a puddle can it go through?

@Guest
Do your research
Batteries will easily last more than 10 years. There are over a dozen Chevy Volts on the road with over 150k miles, and 1 that is nearing 400k miles. All of them have the original battery. There will be some degradation, but probably in the area of 1% per year. These aren't cell phone batteries.
Everything is sealed, so it will drive through as much water as any other truck its size.

@Guest

Crowd-sourced studies have already determined that Tesla batteries lose on average 6% at 50,000 miles, and then lose 1% for every 30,000 miles afterwards.

From that, you could say at 100,00 miles, you'd lose about 8% range. Or in the case of this truck, that's 6.5 miles loss after 100,000 miles, you'd still have 73-mile range after 100,000 miles.

Since this truck uses the same exact Panasonic 18650 batteries as the Teslas, the crowd-sourced studies absolutely applies here.

As for fording high waters, check this out:

https://electrek.co/2016/06/18/tesla-model-s-driving-swimming-flooded-tunnel-video/

Your average car won't manage that.

Sounds like we need these batteries in everything from flashlights to cellphones then. Why make them only for the cars and trucks?

@Guest
You hit the nail on the head! Lithium-ion batteries have been on the commercial market for about 20 years, vs ICE that's been mass-marketed for over a century. Over the past 20 years, incremental improvements have occurred with batteries, with still plenty of room to evolve and get better.

And as you said, these improvements not only benefit the automotive industry, they also benefit portable electronics like cell phones, cameras, laptops...etc. Just give it time and improvements will come. I guarantee you will see several major improvements within the next couple of decades. Same cannot be said about ICE.

Another interesting characteristic of batteries is they can be charged wireless. This opens up several other possibilities. Imagine driving down the highway with your battery being charged wireless from the road. You'd never have to stop for recharge, nor would you need a massive on-board battery. UK has done just that as a proof-of-concept (google it). Not saying we should do it, but the possibility is there. No other form of mass market "fuel" can accomplish this, at least not safely. Today, people complain about long recharge times for EV. Tomorrow, making pit-stops at a "fuel" station to fill up your vehicle will be a thing of the past.

Yes please. Continue to develop and refine. Sooner the better.

good article PU.com

I can see in a couple of years a comparison test between the Tesla, Workhorse, Chevy and VIA motors trucks! I can say that if this comes out by the time im ready, this might be my next truck! Im curious, will the system in this truck be able to have modification to help with dry camping to produce power for a camper? That would be a clincher!

@Sandman4x4
They claim the truck can export 7kw/30amp without running the engine. They're working on a 14kw module.


Oil changes and fuel consumption are just part of the "gestalt"." --- should be changed to --- "For ICE's, oil changes and fuel consumption are just part of the "gestalt"."
Posted by: NMGOM |
/QUOTE

Enjoy your oil changes,,EV drivers have better things to do..

https://youtu.be/buNOLsd7jzA

As for fording high waters, check this out:

https://electrek.co/2016/06/18/tesla-model-s-driving-swimming-flooded-tunnel-video/
Your average car won't manage that.

Posted by: Guest2 | May 4,
/QUOTE
Haha perfect car for crazy ruskis,they must always be first and dont stop for nothing

Rusia drivers
https://youtu.be/1pRl2GF6Bts

Im buying one for sure. A bit low so I might wait to see what Bollinger comes out with, but at least I know I am for sure buying an electric truck finally. This is awesome.

Capabilities are pretty inline with my needs, styling needs work. I would make this my everything driver if these capabilities are real. Only break out the 1 ton for my heavy hauls.



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