A Race to Turn into the Tesla of Supply Vehicles and Vans

A fleet operator could spend about $ 300,000 to own and operate a diesel truck over 20 years, but the cost of owning an electric truck could be less than half, according to Workhorse.

Between its founding in 2007 and 2019, Workhorse delivered 365 vehicles, mostly diesel trucks, which were retrofitted to run on batteries. Some were used by UPS as test vehicles. Workhorse used the knowledge gained from working with the delivery giant and designed its C-Series electric from the ground up. Analysts consider them a strong competitor. The company has firm orders for 1,700 vans.

In 2019, Workhorse saw the national spotlight when its founder, Steve Burns, reached an agreement to purchase a disused auto plant in Lordstown, Ohio from GM President Trump, who welcomed the deal on Twitter before the companies made a public announcement . Mr. Burns eventually founded Lordstown Motors to buy the system and use it to make electric pickups. Workhorse has a 10 percent stake in Lordstown and receives royalties when it begins producing trucks.

Workhorse’s challenge now is to start its own production. It had hoped to build 300 to 400 trucks in the current quarter, but more than a third of its 90 production workers contracted the coronavirus, which resulted in production being halted from most of November. The supplier also had problems producing enough batteries. The company had a net loss of $ 84 million for the third quarter and had $ 80.2 million in cash as of September 30.

Mr Schrader said production has resumed, but since Workhorse hand-builds most of its vans at its Union City, Indiana factory, it can take days to assemble a truck. The company’s goal is to accelerate up to five a day by the end of the first quarter and ten a day by the middle of the year.

Even so, he was optimistic about his company’s opportunities in the overcrowded area of ​​electric vehicle manufacturers. While Rivian and Arrival have deeper pockets, Workhorse has already sold a number of vans to customers who use them for deliveries.

“We’re doing things now,” he said. “From our point of view, we have a lead time of two to three years. We just have to take advantage of it. “

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