Workhorse Group is looking to Hitachi to assess its manufacturing and supply chain operations to help speed up electric delivery truck production.
The strategic agreements between Workhorse (NASDAQ: WKHS) and Hitachi America, Ltd. and Hitachi Capital America Corp. includes benchmarking. Hitachi will recommend changes based on its Lumada platform that covers smart manufacturing, data-driven digital solutions and electric vehicle (EV) technologies.
Hitachi Capital America will help Workhorse develop a national dealer network. That includes supporting sales with vehicle financing options for customers and the cost of keeping Workhorse vehicles in dealer showrooms.
Both American subsidiaries are part of the Japanese multinational conglomerate Hitachi Ltd. (OTC: HTHIY)
Help from a big player
“Workhorse is getting some help from a big player as it works to ramp up production and sales of its C-Series vans,” investor site Motley Fool said. Workhorse shares were trading 7.93% higher at $17.69 a share intraday Monday.
Hitachi Capital’s commercial leasing and finance reputation could help drive orders, Workhorse CEO Duane Hughes said in a press release.
Cincinnati, Ohio-based Workhorse is building its composite-body C-Series electric vans at a factory in Union City, Indiana. It has a backlog of more than 1,000 trucks for United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS) and other customers. Workhorse expects to build 300-400 vans in the fourth quarter.
The first two production models are part of Ryder System (NYSE: R) ChoiceLease and SelectCare product lines. They also are being offered as short-term rentals on Ryder’s COOP, which connects fleet managers to businesses looking to rent vehicles.
The composite-body trucks are powered by a modular battery pack system. It provides between 35 kilowatt hours (kWh) when equipped with two battery packs and 70 kWh in its standard four-pack configuration.
Ideal time for alliance
Hitachi can help Workhorse scale with charging network infrastructure and digital intelligent vehicle routing that makes the most of available energy, said Hicham Abdessamad, Hitachi America Ltd. Global Social Innovation Business CEO.
“Workhorse is primed to build on our early leadership position as the only last-mile EV distributor selling vehicles for commercial use across the country,” Hughes said.
Workhorse received clearance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in July that cleared the way for nationwide sales of the C-Series vans.
“This alliance comes at an ideal time for Workhorse. We value [Hitachi’s] best-in-class innovation and experience in ramping up production and enabling us in providing a complete solution to our customers,” Hughes said.