October 20th, 2018 by Steve Hanley
Look around you. Virtually everything you see in your home or place of business got there because a delivery truck brought it. The vast majority of those delivery trucks are heavy beasts — 8,000 lbs and up — powered by diesel engines. Typically, they get less than 10 miles per gallon. Workhorse, the American leader in all electric work trucks, has begun production of the NGEN delivery van, the delivery van of the future.
What’s so special about the NGEN? Let us count the ways, as set forth in the company’s latest press release:
- low floor with 7.25″ ground clearance — makes loading and unloading easier, and entry and egress safer.
- Hub motors in front — provide tighter turning radius than comparable vehicles.
- All-Wheel drive — provides surefooted handling in inclement weather conditions.
- Composite construction — enables a lightweight and rust-free body.
- 6,000 lb carrying capacity — robust enough for even the heaviest loads.
- Ergonomic driving position — fits drivers from 5’2″ to 6’5″ comfortably.
“For as long as I can remember, we’ve been discussing what the future of delivery looks like and what role electric vehicles will play in that,” says Stephen S. Burns, CEO of Workhorse. “We are proud to say the future is here. With an off-the-lot cost on par with traditional fuel delivery vehicles, and substantial savings from there, we believe the NGEN will forever change the business of delivery as we know it.”
Let’s put this in some perspective, shall we? The typical delivery van has a curb weight of 8,000 lbs or more. The NGEN weighs 4,000 lbs. Plus the body is made of composite material that is impervious to rain, snow, salt, sleet, hail, or whatever else Mother Nature has in mind. An electric vehicle that is cost competitive with a conventional delivery van? What fleet manager wouldn’t jump at that deal?
As an aside, Workhorse has entered into an agreement with Ryder Systems to take care of all in the field maintenance and warranty work. Ryder has more than 1,000 locations throughout North America, so those same fleet managers won’t need a large onsite service team either.
The NGEN is compatible with Level 2 CCS charging equipment, which means lower charging infrastructure costs for businesses. A range extender engine is optional. Its battery is sized for 100 miles of range. If that seems a bit short, consider the words of Workhorse president and chief operating officer COO Duane Hughes. He tells CleanTechnica, “Routes for package delivery vary but are quite consistent across many fleets. 100 miles is a number that is generally accepted as the ‘range requirement’ by many of the leading last mile delivery companies based on their duty cycles. Total range is dependent on several factors including, route and weather conditions, topology and driving style which are taken into account when determining the range requirements.”
The NGEN comes with several features traditional delivery vans seldom offer, including automatic braking and lane centering. The company’s telematics system helps shorten delivery routes, select optimum charging strategies, and keeps fleet managers fully informed about where every vehicle is on the road at all times.
The NGEN will be available in 250, 400, 750, and 1,000 cubic foot sizes. The largest option will have a gross vehicle weight of 10,000 lbs — 4,000 for the vehicle and 6,000 for cargo. It will be first off the assembly line. Duane Hughes says the factory can produce about 60,000 vehicles a year. It expects sales of the NGEN will exceed 10,000 units per year. It already has several customers awaiting their first NGEN all electric all wheel drive delivery vans and is accepting new orders as of October 18.
Maybe an electric delivery van doesn’t strike you as S3XY but removing diesel-powered trucks from American roads will pay dividends not only for fleet managers but for all of us who will breath air that has fewer pollutants and particulates. The NGEN is a win on so many levels. Check out the NGEN video below.
Note: The author owns shares in Workhorse.
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