• Can the Workhorse W-15 Electric Plug-in Pickup Be The Future of Trucking? All the Spec Are Here

    workhorse w15 electric hybrid plug-in pickup truck
    Workhorse W-15 Concept

    Is there future in electric-hybrid pickup trucks? Workhorse is a small Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) who definitely thinks so. Using electricity for pickup truck propulsion is inevitable, but the real question is when will this be viable. Workhorse says that fleet customers will be able to take delivery of the W-15 plug-in electric pickup at the end of 2017 and regular consumers can do the same at the end of 2018. How is it possible to go from the artist drawing of a pickup to a full production model in under two years? Here are the Workhorse’s plan and all the specs for the pickup.

    First, some background on the Workhorse company itself. Company’s official name is Workhorse Group Incorporated, and it is publicly traded on NASDAQ with ticker symbol: WKHS. The company has worked with heavy truck and engine manufacturer – Navistar. The original testbed for the electric plug-in powertrain is commercial trucking came in the form of a delivery “step van”, like the ones used by UPS and other package delivery operators. First vehicles were delivered for testing in 2012. Workhorse now has an assembly plant in Union City, IN where it currently builds around 800 electric plug-in hybrid delivery van per year. These vans are proving to be popular as their fuel efficiency and maintenance costs are drastically lower than traditional diesel-powered counterparts. Workhorse expects to increase van production to about 1,000 units per year next year.


    Enough about delivery vans. Here is all the information and specs for the upcoming W-15 pickup truck. Workhorse calls their powertrain system E-GEN. While the commercial delivery vans have a 19,500 lbs GVWR, the smaller pickup truck is targeted at 7,200 lbs GVWR. It is squarely aimed at the half-ton pickup truck market. The W-15 is initially planed in one configuration: extended cab (with four forward opening doors) four-wheel-drive with a 6.5 foot bed length.

    W-15 pickup truck specs

    The Workhorse E-GEN powertrain is electrically driven with a gasoline engine/generator used only to charge the batteries (not provide propulsion). Workhorse has an agreement with BMW to provide them with both BMW i3 or i8 gasoline engines to be used as range extenders. The 647 cc BMW motorcycle engine is currently used in their delivery vans, and the 1.5L three-cylinder non-turbo BMW engine is planned for use in the W-15 pickup truck. The lithium-ion battery cells are supplied by Panasonic. These are the exactly the same cells as you can find in a Tesla Model S or Model X. The W-15 pickup is planned to carry a 50 kWh batter pack, which will power an electric motor on each the front and the rear axles.


    How much horsepower will the W-15 have? Workhorse does not have an electric motor supplier finalized yet, but they are targeting their 5,000 lbs truck to do a 0-60 mph in 6.0-7.0 seconds.

    The E-GEN propulsion system and the entire vehicle is run by Workhorse-developed software. The company says this is the only way to ensure all systems can integrate well together and provide high reliability. The chassis and frame are made of stainless steel with plastic-composite body panels.


    In summary, the W-15 is an extended cab/regular bed all-wheel-drive pickup truck which should be capable of 80 miles of electric range, around 390 miles of total range (with gasoline range extender), will average 30 MPG in hybrid mode, can carry 2,200 lbs of payload, and reach 60 mph in under 7.0 seconds. Overall, the specifications and claims are very impressive with one exception, which is the estimated maximum towing capacity of 6,000 lbs. Why not over 10,000 lbs of towing? The driving range diminishes drastically under heavier loads. This is something Workhorse and other companies will have to work on.

    The W-15 pickup concept has a few parallels to the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica eHybrid. These are still different animals, but both provide considerable all-electric range, can carry lots of cargo, and can be driven long distance with the help of gasoline.


    Oh yea, the W-15 truck will have a standard 7,200 watt power export (or 14,400 watt optional) capability. It means that you could run a job site, your house, or your camp on electricity generated by your pickup truck.

    Finally, Workhorse is estimating the W-15 price to start at $52,500. This would be on par with all the other nicely appointed half-ton trucks.

    Will we all be able to purchase a Workhorse W-15 truck in two years? We will still have to wait and see…

    While we wait for more details on the W-15, here are all the details on the 2017 GMC Sierra 1500 Hybrid (which is a very mild gas-electric hybrid).

    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.

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    20 thoughts on “Can the Workhorse W-15 Electric Plug-in Pickup Be The Future of Trucking? All the Spec Are Here

    1. In a word No. I can see heavier vehicle applications, with easy access to recharging from a trolley bus type wire being viable, but not lighter

    2. Why do most have a truck?

      A. Work. Not going to cut it commuting to jobsites when you don’t know how far away the next project is going to be

      B. Towing toys for recreation. Not going to cut it hauling your boat or travel trailer to a far away lake or park

      C. Don’t really need a truck, could commute in a car. Yes the application could fit

    3. At best I’d say limited usability, however based on their projected numbers that scale would probably work fine. I think urban delivery services with wireless charging would be the biggest draw…

    4. I hate electric vehicles. They just don’t have that pulsing soul of a gasoline or diesel engine. There is no feeling of shifting gears, either automatic or manual. No more ‘bark’ or ‘bellow’ when an engine starts. No more tachometer.

      Right now, the specs on this truck aren’t going to sway more than just a few liberals away from real trucks. 80 miles, or even a 310 hybrid max, is too few. America is a big place. I wonder what those max range figures drop to when towing a 6,000lb trailer? Or when its -10F out?

      That said, unfortunately, these companies will eventually get it right. Batteries will have the capacity to go further and be recharged quicker.

      1. Thank God for liberals or our country would stay in the ice age. Imagine what electric vehicles will be like in another ten years.

    5. How is this not good for commuting to the job site? The majority of Americans commute less than 40 miles a day. 80 miles unloaded would probably cover almost everyone. And you still have the gas engine for longer trips. It does need a larger fuel tank. I’d like to see at least 400 miles between fill ups.
      Other than that, if they can make it at a decent price, sign me up.

    6. Electric in some form or another is inevitable, its coming but is the vehicle above the answer? Far from it. Growing up on a large ranch in the Texas panhandle this thing wouldn’t last 6 months before it was trashed. I don’t think there will be an answer soon for heavy duty users of pickups like contractors, farmers and ranchers. The abuse these vehicles take day to day is extreme and electric vehicles with all those batteries and connections would shake loose in a heartbeat. Sorry Elon Musk your vehicles aren’t the answer for everything.

    7. TFL you guys are on top of this stuff, I like it. This is the new Era. Entire mine sites up North are now running on electric. To the skeptics who think a battery cant cut it try working underground for a day in a rock mine. Even the heavy 150,000Lb loaders are pure electric and they have automated battery changers. The same can be done for small vehicles. And if you are travelling far, you do the same thing you would do with a gas vehicle, you bring gas cans with fuel or you bring extra battery packs. At least you can charge the battery packs with sunlight if you run out in an emergency. Where are you going to get fuel if you run out?

      I like to accelerate hard at lights so this will be awesome. I can do it all I want without giving lung cancer to the kids behind me in the minivan.

      1. You won’t be giving lung cancer to the kids in the minivan behind you (huh??) but rather you’ll be giving it to all the people who live within a 20-mile radius of the power plant supplying your juice. Electric just centralizes the problem.

        1. The power from hydro is easily environmentally controlled. Oil spills are a disaster and will be causing health problems long into the future from the pollution it causes. Batteries are all recyclable now, every last part can be recycled. Pollution within 20 mile radius. Can you expand on that or is that hot air from a certain body part. Where did that get pulled out of?

        2. Hi Troverman and All,

          Thank you for the great discussion on the topic of electric/hybrid trucks. I think that centralizing the pollution to the point of the power plant is a good thing. It would allow “us” as a whole to reduce pollution at the point the electricity is being generated. Perhaps, adding wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, ocean, and other.


    8. this could work if they were to give it better towing capabilities. Think of local delivery vehicles and landscapers.
      but one thing people don’t totally get is you are still using energy, maybe more to produce this and then there is the cost to feed it.

      1. Once you build the first hydro dam with fuel powered vehicles you can build the second one downstream from it with the power from the first one and build as many as you need downstream from the first one or upstream from it. Then you have wind and solar. Water is always running, sun is always shining and wind is always blowing. When it stops we will no longer exist any way. The power is readily available

    9. Re: Hydroelectric power generation and Liberals: As soon as you build the first Hydro unit the Libs go crazy about destroying the pristine ecosystem. If you think otherwise, look at the Colorado River with three major Hydro gen units. (flaming gorge, Glen Canyon and Hoover Dam) Now there is a movement among various tree hugging elements such as The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Etc. who want to drain Lake Powell (Glen Canyon Dam) because they want more land that the average person cannot visit by vehicle or boat. They only want it available to backpackers.
      They claim to want to preserve the air and water by using renewable resources yet are opposed to the cleanest source available.
      I admit to being a conservative who hunts and fishes and camps; but that doesn’t mean that I want to pollute the atmosphere, or waste precious oil.
      My own set of wheels is a 2010 Prius that consistently gives 48-50 MPG in everyday driving. As for range, I have driven repeatably from Salt Lake City, Utah to Las Vegas, Nevada on a single tank of gas. I have to say that, other than canyon carving, this has been the best vehicle I have ever owned. I have also owned 2 Corvettes, a Jaguar XK140MC, an Austin-Healy 100 LM (a jewel) and and Austin-Healy 3000 (crap,by comparison). So I guess I qualify as a car nut. I also own a ’92 Toyota T-100 one ton and it has been as reliable as an anvil. I also play off road with a Chenowith Dune buggy and lately, a Razor.

    10. Anything that can help us from our dependency from foreign oil is a plus..I think Troverman and other nay Sayers continue to have there head in the sand.The Same technology like iPhones ,androids using lithium batteries or powertools have been beneficial to our society .So why can’t vehicles like volts,Teslas or others be accepted,its our future and its made in USA..

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