UPS purchased 50 of these delivery vans early in the year for testing. The tests must have gone well as 950 is a really large order for Workhorse. These vans will be used for what the industry call, last mile delivery. Typically a route averaging around 65 miles with lots of stops. This is a tough grind for conventional ICEs, transmissions and brakes, but perfect for electric propulsion. If you think electric vans of this size are unreasonably expensive and heavy, think again. These vans weigh less than a conventional van and cost about the same, even before Federal and state incentives. All this, plus their incredibly low operating costs make them a no brainer decision.
These vans are also offered with the tiny 650 CC range extender offered in the BMW i3. You wouldn't think the 20 kw output would be sufficient for such a large vehicle but because of the many stops the van makes the tiny rex is able to keep up.
Workhorse is one of five contenders for the USPS Next gen delivery van. A 5 or 6 billion dollar procurement for 180,000 vehicles.
Smaller van but similar last mile delivery considerations. I think Workhorse has a good shot at this if they can offer a van close in price to the conventionally powered and hybrid competitors like they did for UPS. Their much lower operating costs should then place them head and shoulders above the competition. A big plus for the Postman when exchanging their archaic 9 mpg vans for one that has A/C and twin 230 hp axles configured as 4WD with full torque vectoring. The USPS van will be able to handle longer rural routes with the same range extender used in the USPS vans.
A spin-off of the USPS development is the Workhorse W-15 pickup truck. 5000 have been ordered by fleet buyers, primarily electric utilities, but Workhorse is now allowing private buyers, like me, to place reservations to purchase at about the same orice, $52,500 before federal and state incentives. These trucks will have the same dual 230 hp axles and 60 kwh battery as the mail van, and I think the USPS vans but their lighter weight will allow really fast 0-60 time of 4.6 seconds. One difference recently announced is the W-15 will be equipped with a much more powerful range extender based on the BMW turbo 3 cylinder 1.5 liter ICE that will let it operate continuously at full load. No number on this larger range extender but I think an output in the 70 kw range is possible. Delivery of the W-15 to fleets begins 4th quarter this year and to private buyers in 2019.
Electrification is quietly taking over in the trucking industry, not for environmental considerations which is a useful by product, but for good old dollars and sense reasons. It's curious that the big manufactures seem to not have noticed.