The Tesla of trucks can drive, tow, and even power tools, all on electricity

Ohio-based startup Workhorse has released more information about the upcoming W-15. While its name might suggest it’s a form you need to fill out before filing your taxes, the W-15 is billed as the industry’s first production pickup truck with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.

The model is all-new from the ground up, and it’s largely aimed at fleet buyers. It boasts a plug-in hybrid drivetrain built around a 460-horsepower gasoline-burning engine that functions as a range extender. A lithium-ion battery pack manufactured by Panasonic feeds two electric motors. One is mounted over the front axle, and the other is bolted right above the rear axle, a configuration that gives the W-15 all-wheel drive.

An outlet built into the side of the bed lets users draw electricity directly from the battery pack to power miscellaneous tools. Unique on the market, this innovative feature promises to make noisy, gasoline-burning generators obsolete.

With a full charge, the W-15 can drive on electricity alone for up to 80 miles. It returns 32 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg in the city when the gasoline engine turns on. If those figures are certified by the EPA, the W-15 will be markedly more efficient than other full-size trucks on the market.

In comparison, the diesel-powered Ram 1500 HFE returns up to 29 mpg on the highway when it’s properly configured. The oil-burning variant of the 2018 Ford F-150 is expected to receive a similar rating when it goes on sale later this year.

The trade-off is that the W-15 can’t tow as much as its rivals. Towing capacity checks in at 5,000 pounds, while the HFE is certified to pull nearly 8,000 pounds. However, the W-15’s 2,200-pound payload bests the Ram’s by 700 pounds.

Designed with an emphasis on usability and durability, the cabin offers high-tech features like a large, TV-like touch screen right in the middle of the dashboard, and a second screen that replaces the instrument cluster. The presence of wires dangling from under the dashboard is open to question; we’ll give Workhorse the benefit of the doubt and assume the model pictured in the brand’s promotional material is a preproduction prototype.

Workhorse plans to start production of the W-15 next year in Indiana. Barring any delays, the company will beat rivals Tesla and Ford to the electrified pickup truck segment. Pricing starts at $52,000, according to Motor1, and buyers who want to be among the first to receive the truck can send Workhorse a refundable deposit.


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