Workhorse W-15 Plug-In Hybrid Truck Unveiled

Posted on May 9 2017 - 2:10am by Jeff Dunham

Ohio-based commercial truckmaker Workhorse has unveiled the W-15 plug-in hybrid truck that goes on sale in late 2018.

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The Workhorse W-15 plug-in hybrid pickup carries a powertrain comprised of a 45 kilowatt battery pack with Panasonic cells that drives a BorgWarner electric motor at each axle to create a combined 460 hp all-wheel-drive system. The W-15 can tow up to 5,000 pounds and carry a 2,200-pound payload capacity, both roughly comparable to a strong V6 truck. An outlet built into the bedside can provide on site power for tools directly from the battery.

Workhorse says that with a range of 80 miles per charge, the W-15 will meet the needs of a wide range of companies, from electric utilities to plumbing contractors. And, in a likely key difference from the Tesla pickup on the horizon, the W-15 will have a backup, 3-cylinder BMW gas engine to let it drive longer distances in a pinch.

Burns expects the instant electric torque and traction to make it one of the quickest trucks around, with a 0-60 mph time under 5.5 seconds. The low center of gravity provided by the batteries and its four-wheel independent suspension also promise relatively excellent handling.

The truck’s clean, modern interior design includes a digital instrument cluster and a touchscreen on the dashboard that handles most functions and reduces the number of buttons and knobs on the dashboard and steering wheel to just five.

As with all electrics, the Workhorse W-15 isn’t cheap—$52,500 before any incentives or tax credits. “We sell it on economy. This is a less expensive truck,” said Workhorse CEO Steve Burns.

Workhorse is primarily targeting commercial customers and already has more than 2,100 pre-orders, but Burns says consumer sales are possible in the future once a large enough distribution and service network is in place. The company’s Loveland, Ohio, factory has the capacity to build up to 60,000 trucks annually, and it will be marketing the trucks through a partnership with Ryder.