Workhorse Wants a $250 Million Loan to Help Fund Plug-In Hybrid Pickup Truck Production

The same loan program funded Tesla and Fisker.

To help get its W-15 plug-in hybrid pickup truck into production, Workhorse Group is turning to the federal government. The company is applying for a $250 million loan through the Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing program, the same program that previously funded Tesla and Fisker.

Workhorse wants to use the money to finance preparation of its Union City, Indiana, factory for the production of the W-15. The DOE has deemed Workhorse’s application to be complete enough to begin a preliminary evaluation, according to a company press release. CEO Stephen Burns said Workhorse has already received more than 5,000 letters of intent from potential buyers interested in the W-15.

The W-15 is powered by two electric motors, but a gasoline engine acts as a generator. Workhorse anticipates 80 miles of all-electric range and 310 miles of range using both electric and gasoline power. Similar to a Chevrolet Volt, the configuration offers drivers the flexibility to keep going on gasoline power if charging stations aren’t available.

The ATVM loan program was created to fund manufacturing of vehicles and components that increase fuel efficiency. Previous high-profile loans went to Ford (for manufacturing facilities related to hybrid, electric, and EcoBoost powertrains), Nissan (a battery plant for the Leaf) and Tesla (for Model S production). Fisker also received an ATVM loan, which it defaulted on.

If Workhorse can get funding lined up, the W-15 could be the first production electrified pickup truck, beating Ford’s promised F-150 hybrid and Tesla’s all-electric pickup. Meanwhile, Workhorse is preparing to launch a small electric delivery van called the N-Gen, and a small helicopter called the SureFly. Workhorse certainly knows how to keep its employees busy.