US truck-maker teases plug-in hybrid pick-up
November 11, 2016
Pure-electric vehicle start-up announces it’s working on low-emissions Ford Ranger ute rival with 130km EV range
US truck-maker, Workhorse, has announced it is developing a new all-wheel drive plug-in hybrid pick-up truck that will rival utes like the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux.
However, the new ute — called the W-15 Electric Hybrid — has been created, says Workhorse, to be the world’s first plug-in hybrid pick-up.
Offering significantly lower running costs and emissions compared to a regular truck, the Workhorse pick-up features two large electric motors that drive both front and rear axles.
For the first 130km the W-15 is powered by large lithium-ion batteries that are mounted beneath the floor between the axles.
Once the batteries are drained of all power a small petrol-powered generator kicks in to recharge the cells on the move.
In total, the W-15 pick-up is said to have a range of more than 500km.
It’s not known which petrol engine Workhorse is considering but on other trucks its preferred range-extender is the same 647cc two-cylinder petrol engine that’s used in the BMW i3 REx.
Its creators also claim the W-15 will be the “safest pickup ever built”.
To back up this claim and ensure it excels in crash tests, Workhorse says its ultra-low-emission pick-up will have larger than normal crumple zones, a low centre of gravity and standard electronic stability control.
To keep weight down, the production truck uses composite body panels and a high-strength stainless steel ladder frame chassis.
Made to seat five with a large wide rear bed, the W-15 has already attracted interest in the US from a large energy company and the City of Orlando, Florida. Both are interested in the prospect of an ultra-low-emission truck.
Despite being founded officially only in 2015, Workhorse recently supplied 125 plug-in hybrid delivery fans to US courier firm UPS and has won a contract to supply another 200 vans.
The Workhorse W-15 will be on sale in 2018, its makers say.
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