By Jeremy J. Zacharias
United Parcel Service (UPS) and United States Postal Service (USPS) have a few things in common: drivers with cool uniforms, dogs chasing its drivers, and of course, the need for delivery trucks. In the age of the electric vehicle, parcel delivery companies are trying every which way to lessen expenses to reconcile their bottom line. If being green is a byproduct for these companies, then all the better.
A few companies are coming to market in the next few years focusing on delivery vehicles. Workhorse Group is one of these companies. According to its website, Workhorse is a technology company focused on providing drone-integrated electric vehicles to the last-mile delivery sector. All Workhorse vehicles are designed to make the movement of people and goods more efficient and less harmful to the environment.
AMP Electric Vehicles, the predecessor of Workhorse, was established in 2007 as a developmental-stage vehicle electrification company. In March 2015, AMP acquired the Workhorse brand and the Workhorse Custom Chassis assembly plant in Union City, Indiana. The asset acquisition made the company an official equipment manufacturer (OEM) and enabled the company to manufacture new, medium-duty truck chassis in the 14,500 to 23,500 GVW class. After acquiring the Workhorse brand, AMP formally changed its name to Workhorse Group Incorporated and is now publicly traded on the NYSE under ticker symbol WKHS.
Workhorse is also the company behind various all-electric delivery vans, including the C-1000 Standard Range and the C-650 Standard and Extended Range, both currently in development.
The firm has gained publicity recently with a few lucrative delivery service contracts. The company is reportedly building 950 electric delivery vans for UPS for example. Workhorse is set to produce these vans in General Motors’ former automotive plant located in Lordstown, Ohio. Production is tentatively scheduled for November 2020.
Workhorse has also made headlines with its announcement that USPS has awarded Workhorse with a $6.3 billion contract to deliver new mail delivery trucks over the next decade. This is huge news for USPS, an entity that is notoriously slow to innovate.
Workhorse has recently been deemed eligible for the Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP) program offered by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). With its eligibility into the HVIP program confirmed, certain Workhorse C-Series vehicles, including the C-1000 and the C-650 can now qualify for monetary vouchers, helping to reduce the total cost for any purchaser domiciled in the state of California. Workhorse will remain on the eligible vehicle list until additional funding has been designated for the program. In addition, Workhorse also recently received a Certificate of Conformity from the EPA and a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards Certification. Workhorse is the first medium duty BEV OEM to be certified by both the EPA and CARB.
With large well-known companies such as UPS and USPS investing in EV companies such as Workhorse, the next phase of the last-mile delivery service industry will be defined by the development and production of electric commercial delivery vans and trucks, which will not only be environmentally friendly, but will aid in maintaining a company’s bottom line. There is currently a race for EV companies, such as Tesla and Nikola, to come to market as the first electric semi-truck manufacturer, but, in my opinion, the race to produce the first round of last-mile electric delivery vans is far more important. In the age of the home delivery boom, the EV manufacturer that is first to market with a mass-produced delivery van will be king. Will Workhorse be the king? Only time will tell.