Workhorse announces N-Gen electric van with integrated delivery drone

It goes 100 miles on a charge, or 175 with range extender.

Workhorse Group has been busy this year. In addition to its W-15 range-extended plug-in pickup, the company has been continuing to develop the HorseFly drone delivery system (which it demonstrated earlier this year) and the SureFly personal flying machine. Now Workhorse has taken another area of its expertise – electric step vans – and created a new platform called N-Gen, which the company has announced it will begin testing.

With that crucial (and expensive) last mile of transport in mind, the N-Gen offers more capability than the company's current E-Gen platform. The N-Gen offers 100 miles of range on a single charge, and an optional gasoline range extender adds another 75 miles to total range. To make the delivery process even more efficient, Workhorse offers its HorseFly unmanned flying drone delivery system with the N-Gen.

The N-Gen makes efficient use of cargo space, with a 105-inch roof height and 19-inch load floor (the latter also helps prevent delivery driver injuries). Workhorse says testing suggests fuel economy figures between 60 and 65 miles-per-gallon equivalent. N-Gen also offers all-wheel drive, and a best-in-class 26-foot turning radius.

But the really interesting thing about the N-Gen is the optional HorseFly. The aerial drone launches from the roof of the truck, and can carry a load of up to 10 pounds to its destination on its own, at a cost of about 3 cents per mile. As Workhorse CEO explained in a recent interview, this cuts down one of the most expensive parts of the delivery process: driver time. While the human driver delivers a package, the Horsefly can autonomously deliver to another location within line of sight. N-Gen includes a telematics system to track van and drone activity to improve efficiency.

Workhorse will begin testing the N-Gen electric van in several U.S. cities. The company says it will also offer other configurations for telecom and municipal use, as well as 700- and 1,000-cubic-foot models late next year.

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