The Workhorse N-GEN electric delivery van is pictured in front of San Francisco City Hall. Photo by Thi Dao

The Workhorse N-GEN electric delivery van is pictured in front of San Francisco City Hall. Photo by Thi Dao

Government fleet managers facing emissions-reduction policies have long asked for work truck or van offerings to complement the electrified small passenger cars that are now readily available. Those seeking an all-electric van offering won’t have to wait much longer.

On March 28, Workhorse unveiled in N-GEN electric delivery vehicle at the San Francisco City Hall, days before a fleet of four vehicles enter a pilot with an unnamed fleet. With a range of up to 100 miles, the vehicles will be used for last-mile, mostly residential deliveries in the Bay Area.

“They want to test it over all sorts of terrain,” said Steve Burns, Workhorse CEO. While climbing San Francisco's hilly streets may drain the battery quicker, Burns said regenerative braking will allow to driver to recover some of that power.

The N-GEN's standard features include all-wheel drive, automatic braking and lane centering, and a best-in-class 26-foot turning radius. It also includes telematics, and a range extender is optional. Ryder will support maintenance and warranty work for the vehicles.

Burns said what makes this vehicle stand out is that it’s built from the ground up to be an efficient delivery vehicle. A major selling point is the low, flat floor, which eases rolling for carts, eases driver entry and exit, and provides extra cargo space.

“It’s remarkably small for a 450-square-foot cargo space,” he said.

But just because it’s designed to be a delivery vehicle doesn’t mean that’s all it can be used for — Burns believes it would also make a great ambulance or utility vehicle, or various other government uses.  

Workhorse, which also produces a plug-in hybrid electric truck, is one of five finalists in the running to produce the United States Postal Services’ next delivery vehicle. Testing is taking place now.

“This [N-GEN] is borne of the Post Office vehicle chassis, so a lot of what we learned in developing the Post Office vehicle, you’ll see in that vehicle,” Burns said.

Workhorse expects to start N-GEN production in June, with full production by the end of the year. Pricing has not yet been announced, but Burns expects leasing costs will be the same as leasing an equivalent diesel van. The company will begin taking orders for the vehicle soon.

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