The ute of the future from the USA?

Submitted: Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 11:11
ThreadID: 138344 Views:4800 Replies:3 FollowUps:2
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G'day all - Well, it looks like the Americans may be taking timid steps to try and join the electric commercial vehicle market - but with what appears to be a great deal of reluctance.

The prototype/potential final offering, in the link below, is the Workhorse electric truck.
Because the Americans can never really get around the idea that a road vehicle has to have a petrol-powered IC engine - it's not really an electric truck, it's a hybrid, with a 3 cyl BMW petrol engine powering a generator, to recharge the battery.

The Workhorse Hybrid pickup

The Workhorse is AWD, not 4WD, because Workhorse have decided that a good potential market for this rig is the USPS - because the USPS has hundreds of thousands of mail and parcel delivery vehicles, all doing short-haul, stop/start work.

Any company manufacturing a vehicle that meets the USPS needs and who can score a substantial vehicle supply contract for the USPS, has it made.
From there, they can build on that base to meet the much larger and more picky, private vehicle market.

If you think the Workhorse pickup looks suspiciously like it uses quite a number of GM pickup parts and design, you'd be spot-on.

But, as with all American corporate shenanigans - mostly based on common company directors, and cosy corporate tie-ups, by way of Joint Ventures - the Workhorse company is a real mixed bag.

The Workhorse company is a Navistar spin-off that has been building specialty products such as motor homes and custom chassis' for low-volume, specialised orders.

But Workhorse has climbed into bed with GM and is talking about taking over a redundant GM factory in Ohio.

Naturally, Workhorse doesn't have enough money to both buy a big ex-GM factory, and spend tens (or hundreds) of millions on research, designing and building a whole new range of electric/hybrid vehicles.

So, it appears GM might be assisting Workhorse financially by either by buying a big chunk of Workhorse's shares, or indulging in a JV - to assist with GM getting rid of a big surplus asset and to "get a finger in the pie" of the electric/hybrid market.

Perhaps the thinking is, within GM, that if Workhorse goes broke trying to develop an electric pickup, it won't leave any smell of failure on GM, and GM just might pick up a heap of valuable intellectual property and research information on electric motive power.

A couple of the interesting sticking points are -

One - there is a real shortage of lithium batteries in the quantities needed for substantial volumes of electric/hybrid vehicle production.

Two - there's a big sticking point around Unions in the factory purchase deal. Corporate America hates Unions with a vengeance - but if you buy a vehicle manufacturing facility in the U.S., you have to negotiate with the UAW, as the UAW rules in many of the vehicle manufacturing plants, and you can't move forward without dealing with the aggressive UAW.

The Workhorse is an interesting concept, and does point to the near-future design of vehicles, before much more capable batteries are invented, so that 100% electric vehicles are totally viable, and can provide serious competition against a diesel-powered 4WD ute.

The Workhorse has good design thinking behind its parameters - a load capacity of 2200 lbs (1000kgs) and a towing capacity of 5000lbs (2268kgs) - and a satisfactory travel range.

The idea of recognising that you have a very powerful power source in the shape of the vehicles large battery, thereby providing electric power for tools and camping, etc., is a winner.

The greatest problem with moving forward with hybrid/electric designs is trying to overcome the design resistance caused by many car manufacturers sharing common directors with oil companies.

In America, this is a problem that has plagued vehicle design for years - and it was only U.S. Govt intervention with fuel economy regulation, that brought us more economical engine designs.

If these oil company/vehicle manufacturer directors had their way, we'd still all be driving massive fuel-hogging V8's, and probably even V12's, and we'd still all be contributing on a monstrous scale to the American Oil Companies huge wealth, and Middle Eastern despots huge wealth.

I for one, look forward to the forthcoming era of cheaper transportation costs via electric power, and the final severing of total reliance on global Oil Companies and Middle Eastern oil reserves.

Cheers, Ron.
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Reply By: swampy - Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 22:17

Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 22:17
But can ait do a burnout or doughnut at the B&S ball .

The reality is if u can lower a tradies cost I`m all for it .

AnswerID: 625598

Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 23:21

Saturday, May 18, 2019 at 23:21
Swampy -

Workhorse pickup specs -

460 horsepower
0-60 miles per hour (100kmh) in 5.5 seconds.

Does that sound like a burnout machine?? [;-)

Ever been burnt off at the lights by a Tesla?? I have! - it moved so fast, I thought it had afterburners fitted!

The reality is going to be whether they can produce this electric ute for a price comparable to a diesel ute. At present, that isn't happening.

Even Tesla is burning through the funding like a kid with his piggybank at a lolly shop.
Musk reckons Tesla only has 10 mths worth of money left, at the rate Tesla is burning through it - even after getting $2.7B in additional funding, earlier this month.

And the cheapest Tesla still costs AU$135,000 (drive-away). Musk fails to realise you can still buy a lot of petrol or diesel, for that kind of pricing gap.

Cheers, Ron.
FollowupID: 899283

Reply By: Candace S. - Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 02:55

Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 02:55
LOL, what is the source for your original post? It is quite a mess. But what the heck, it's always fun to bash, right? However, to fact-check a few points...

Contrary to what your article implies, electric vehicles are definitely catching on in the US. How are they doing in Australia? ;)

US has world's second highest electric car population

Much more about EVs in the US

Unions have long since lost their stranglehold on auto manufacturing in the US. Much of the manufacturing has either shifted overseas, or moved to the Southern states. And in the latter, workers have rejected unionizing.

The California factory where Teslas are built used to be union. But of course now is not. Notably, it turned out a lot more cars in it's pre-Tesla days. :)

NUMMI to Tesla

I'd be interested in seeing proof that oil companies and car manufacturers have the same directors.

What assurance is there that electric transportation really will be cheaper? Especially without consumption of energy-dense fossil fuels to generate the electricity. California has an aggressive renewable energy mandate. And retail electricity there costs almost twice as much as in the neighboring state of Nevada.

Electricity costs by state

AnswerID: 625600

Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 11:53

Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 11:53
Candace, you will never find any website or publication that lists common directors of oil companies and auto manufacturers, or other manufacturers who produce products that run on oil - you have to physically go through the board of directors listings, and find and note, the commonly-recurring names.

But here's just one example - the chair of Royal Dutch Shell is also a director of Deere and Co. You can find a lot more, once you start looking at the makeup of the corporate boards.

Shell - Board of Directors

Thanks for the figures on electric vehicle ownership in the U.S. I wasn't aware that the U.S was the world leader in EV's!

There is truth to the argument that using fossil fuels to generate electricity to power EV's is not cheaper than using fossil fuels directly in IC-engine powered vehicles.

But there is still great potential in renewable energy (particularly solar) for lowering electric power generation costs.
The problem with aggressive renewable energy mandates is that it's a big-stick approach, when a carrot-and-stick approach is needed.

The greatest single problem we have, as regards oil, is the cartel that exists in its ownership, production and distribution, that ensures that competition is non-existent, or almost totally stifled.

Just as the banks have been caught out manipulating Libor, there is justification to believe that illegal pricing manipulation is rampant amongst oil companies and oil producers.

In any other industry but the oil industry, competition would be encouraged and aided, and anti-monopoly legislation would be introduced.
I see no such reining-in of oil companies and oil producers, to control their global and all-encompassing operations.

Cheers, Ron.
FollowupID: 899286

Reply By: swampy - Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 13:26

Sunday, May 19, 2019 at 13:26
If the politicians install more of the latest coal techy plant and built a nuclear plant .Together with way more solar particularly in the sunny states .

We might just get the price down of electrickery.
OH wait electric vehicles trucks and utes all charging from home .

Unless the sparks are regulated the price WILL RISE .

Cheap sparks its a dream …...
AnswerID: 625603

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