Over seven years of plug-in electric cars and 20 years of hybrids, the pickup truck sector remains largely untouched.

GM sold hybrid Chevrolet and GMC pickups for a few years, and Ford plans an F-150 hybrid in 2020.

A startup company now called Workhorse (nee AMP) noticed that white space and made a bold play for the market with its W-15 plug-in hybrid pickup truck.

DON'T MISS: Workhorse W-15 range-extended electric pickup truck revealed (video)

With an estimated 80-mile range on electric power and 32 mpg highway and 28 mpg city with the gasoline engine, Workhorse leads in crowding segment.

Though the truck isn't on sale yet, CEO Steve Burns says the company has received $300 million in pre-orders for its plug-in hybrid truck.

At an estimated price of $52,500, that's a lot of trucks, but Burns stressed that getting orders up front is a calculated strategy in an interview with Autoblog.


Workhorse W-15 plug-in truck

Workhorse W-15 plug-in truck

Although the company had the desire to build a plug-in pickup truck, Burns admits Workhorse didn't have the resources to do it.

"We couldn't build it and hope [customers] came," after the announcement. "We wanted to make sure there was an audience of customers."

Potentially to his surprise, the audience poured in; Workhorse received 4,560 letter-of-intent preorders at its reveal in May.

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Workhorse developed the W-15 with compromise in mind since an all-electric truck may "disappoint" customers in capability, per Burns.

The CEO says an all-electric truck's estimated range diminishes as payload and towing ratings increase—it also allows Workhorse to keep costs down with a smaller battery pack with a plug-in hybrid powertrain.

And the W-15's specifications aren't poor, either. Dual electric motors provide 460 horsepower, its payload rating sits at 2,200 pounds and it will tow up to 5,000 pounds.

Workhorse W-15 plug-in truck

Workhorse W-15 plug-in truck

The battery also serves as a mobile power supply with a standard outlet present to power electric tools.

Workhorse wants to deliver its first trucks by late 2018, but it won't necessarily be alone in the market.

Canadian company Havelaar plans to build its all-electric Bison; Tesla has said it plans an electric pickup truck in two years; and Bollinger wants to build a a pickup version of its B-1 electric Class 3 utility truck.

CHECK OUT: Bollinger B1 all-electric utility truck: 10,000 signups since launch

None of those companies is a traditional maker, but there's also the chance that one or more large global carmakers could change course and debut its own mass-market electrified pickup.

The demand for the Workhorse plug-in hybrid pickup truck speaks volumes, however.

After the company satisfies its initial fleet orders, Burns said it will likely turn toward individual customers, whose pre-orders he said could be filled sometime late in 2019.


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