Workhorse ready to run with C-Series electric delivery van

Workhorse C650 electric van

of its long-awaited electric delivery van could begin in the next few weeks for
Workhorse Group (NASDAQ: WKHS), with plans to add additional configurations and sizes to the
C-Series once full production ramps up, company officials told FreightWaves at
the recent NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis.

In the company’s fourth-quarter
earnings announcement on Tuesday, CEO Duane Hughes said Workhorse is waiting
for one additional federal certification to begin production, and once that is
received, manufacturing will begin with two vehicles per day at the company’s
Union City, Indiana, plant.

Hughes said Workhorse would be
producing 300 to 400 vans per month by the end of the year. Pax Lindell,
director of sales, told FreightWaves there is a backlog of C650 and C1000 van
orders right now. UPS, DHL and Ryder (NYSE: R) are among
the companies with vehicles on order. UPS (NYSE: UPS) has an
order for 1,060 vans, Hughes said on the earnings call, and will start
receiving vans in the second quarter.

The C-Series was named the 2020
Innovation Award winner at the Work Truck Show.

The van will be available in
650-cubic-foot (C650) and 1,000-cubic-foot (C1000) cargo van configurations
initially. Chief engineer Richard Bastien told FreightWaves a 1,200-cubic-foot
(C1200) will eventually be offered.

The vans feature a skateboard
design, meaning the base is the same across models. Built with composite
bodies, they are offered in 190-inch and 144-inch wheelbases. Nearly all the
specs are identical, including gross axle weight ratings (5,000 pounds for the
front axle and 7,500 pounds for the rear axle) and the 12,500-pound fully
loaded weight.

The powertrain is among the unique
features of the van. Sitting in a cradle near the rear of the vehicle, the
powertrain can be easily removed and replaced.

“That’s good for our customers
because if they have multiple vehicles on the road, they can have an extra
powertrain so if a truck breaks down, they can [simply replace it],” Bastien
explained. The broken powertrain can then be repaired with minimal downtime for
the vehicle.

The base battery pack is a
four-module configuration with an effective range of 100 miles and a top speed
of 75 mph. The battery pack is scalable, based on range needs, explained Don
Wires, the original engineer who led development of the C-Series. Typically, a
vehicle will have four packs for the C650 or six packs for the C1000, but a
customer who needs only a few miles of range could choose just two packs if
desired. An eight-pack option is in the works as well, he said. A six-pack
configuration would provide about 150 miles range, Wires noted.

Lindell said initial ride-and-drive
customer events have gone well, and he expects the vehicle to quickly gain

“These trucks are the tools for
their business,” he said. “The thing that stands out to them is this truck is
purpose built” for delivery.

The C-Series features low floors,
access through traditional delivery doors so drivers can step in and out of the
vehicle easily, and 6,000 pounds of payload capacity.

“Today, I don’t think there is any
doubt that if put into the right application, this is the best option,” Lindell