Workhorse N-Gen van order to UPS jumps 1,900 percent

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N-GEN #2

Nothing shabby about 1,900 percent growth.

UPS’ original deal with Workhorse to acquire 50 N-Gen electric vans has increased to 1,000, or roughly 1,900 percent.

Workhorse’s new N-Gen electric van has a range of 100 miles on a single charge, which the company says should be adequate for most delivery routes. An optional 75-mile gas range extender is available.

The N-Gen van is currently geared toward urban deliveries, but Workhorse is also planning additional configurations for telecom and municipal use. Plus, bigger versions with 700-cubic-foot and 1,000-cubic-foot models are expected to enter production in late 2018.

By the end of the year, Workhorse says it plans to put 2,000 all-electric vans on the road. We recently caught up with Workhorse founder and CEO Stephen Burns to learn more.

HWT: This latest N-Gen order is a big jump from UPS’ prior order. What accounts for the surge?

Burns: For the first time in the U.S., we are experiencing mainstream demand across a range of fleets, large and small, for commercial electric vehicles, driven by our 3+ million miles of demonstrable proof of performance. UPS is clearly the leader in the shift to scale. The N-GEN is a quantum leap forward in last mile delivery vehicle designed and built specifically for long life under the demanding use case. 

HWT: What’s the variation in van specs?

Burns: We are currently offering two N-GEN models:

  • The N-GEN 450, which is a 10,001 GVWR, 450 cu.ft. cargo space all-electric van with up to 4,700 lbs. of payload
  • The N-GEN 1000, which is a 14,500 GVWR, 1000 cu.ft. cargo space all-electric van with up to 6,700 lbs. of payload

 The N-GEN was designed from the ground-up for driver safety, efficiency, and high performance.  All models feature increased payload due to the lightweight, durable composite body design. 

The vehicle has a low floor height, which minimizes knee and back stresses for delivery drivers who enter and exit the vehicle 150-plus times per day. 

The estimated range is 100 miles, or equivalent to 50 MPGe, compared with 7 MPG on average for a comparable delivery van. Standard charging options will include both Level 2 (J1772 standard) for overnight charging (approximately 6 hours), and DC fast charge (CCS standard) for opportunity charging (approximately 75 minutes).  And finally, we have incorporated state-of-the-art safety features, including automatic braking, lane departure warning, and a driver’s side airbag.

Both N-GEN models are now available for all fleets to pre-order in the United States. 

HWT: When will the vans be received by UPS? 

Burns: Deliveries will begin this fall.

HWT: How will the vans be used? 

Burns: The vans will replace many of the current 1,000 cube gas delivery vans in UPS’s fleet.  

HWT: Where will the vans be used? 

Burns: We are still finalizing deployment locations. A number of the locations will be where existing Workhorse EV’s are already in operation.

HWT: Will the vans be part of a pilot? If so, what are the goals of the pilot? Duration? 

Burns: No. We are working closely with UPS to design a vehicle that meets their specifications and use case. We expect to begin deliveries this fall, and the delivery schedule is in the planning stages.

HWT: What kind of changes to charging infrastructure are required? 

Burns: Workhorse vehicles utilize the industry standard Level 2, J1772 standard, which requires no changes to existing charging infrastructure. The N-GEN will also include a DC fast charge option, utilizing the CCS standard. 

HWT: Will solar be implemented to assist in charging? 

Burns: We work with fleet facilities managers, EVSE providers, and utilities to provide integrated energy management solutions for our customers, which can include stationary storage and solar. We are also evaluating the feasibility of integrating solar panels into our vehicle.

HWT: To minimize the amount of charging stations, will the vans be used on a rotational shift basis? 

Burns: UPS has several strategies they’re pursuing to optimize energy management for their facilities as they scale up their Workhorse electric fleet. 

HWT: Who will handle maintenance and what kind of maintenance will required?

Burns: Ryder is Workhorse’s exclusive service and maintenance partner, providing fleets with more than 800 locations and 35,000 service technicians in North America. We have demonstrated a 50-70% reduction in maintenance costs for our E-series vans, when compared with a conventional gas or diesel van. 

HWT: What kind of telematics system will be used? 

Burns: All Workhorse vehicles incorporate our proprietary telematics system, which provides real-time vehicle and driver performance data to fleet operators.