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Workhorse, a David Vs. Goliath Story

Updated on August 22, 2018
Ken Burgess profile image

Originally from Cape Cod. Army Vet., Fmr. Director of Energy Conservation programs, RE Agent, current residence the Space Coast, FL

I have recently begun researching in earnest what avenues would be best to invest into for the future, be this real estate or corporations that I believe hold promise.

This has led me to do a lot of research on companies like Tesla and Apple and their rise to prominence, and how companies that were once part of everyday life like AOL and Yahoo have fallen.

Searching for clues as to how small companies with big ideas, became great companies that changed the way we live. In the process, I've come to learn some fascinating things.

I researched the well known companies, like Tesla and Ford, to see what they were doing, what direction(s) they were planning on taking. Ford seems to be going in the wrong direction and Tesla at first seems to be about all the right things, until you do some in depth research into its history, its projected plans, and its primary owner Elon Musk.

Then as luck would have it, I stumbled (and you can take that literally as Workhorse is a company that in essence has no visibility to anyone not digging deep into EV options) upon Workhorse.

At first glance, their W-15 pick-up seemed the perfect vehicle, with a forward thinking sales set up for an up and coming company, interested buyers could get in line to buy a W-15 of their own by putting down $1k to secure their opportunity to buy one (like Tesla had done with the M3), this gave the company a way to gauge interest, and also makes sure they were not wasting valuable resources building something for residential use that wouldn't sell.

But there was a big problem, no visibility. And this is really heartbreaking as they currently have little in the ways of competition for EV pick-ups, essentially they have the market cornered, one that is desperate for just what Workhorse has created with the W-15.

Ford, Chevy, Tesla, Toyota, they are all producing EV cars… but no one is producing a Pick-up, one of the biggest markets in America, trucks, is being ignored right now.

Sure Tesla and Chevy say they have plans in the works to create such vehicles… but the thing is they are not. Workhorse is the only horse in the race, and yet they are not pushing this advantage to the exclusion of all other efforts.

This is where I have major concerns for Workhorse. Instead of pushing this advantage and making an effort to market the W-15 and give it some visibility (do something ingenious like giving one to Lebron James while he was in Cleveland and making sure every news outlet knew about it, for instance) they have done little to get it noticed.

The people controlling the direction of the company seem enamored with creating the next great version of the helicopter, or the next drone product, the problem with this is, neither product is very marketable, there isn’t interest in these products near to the level of interest in pick-ups, and there aren’t a whole lot of people who are going to shell out the money to buy a helicopter because they lack everyday use in the non-commercial world.

Right now their focus should be on filling that niche (pick-ups). Making every effort to get the attention of all the people interested in purchasing a EV Truck that are unaware there is such an option. And selling them on how great a product it is.

All efforts to reach new customers, by grass roots campaign, by buying up ad space on Youtube videos related to EV vehicles, posting new road tests on twitter, making a fanpage on facebook, get people talking about the W-15. Doing so is almost as important as building a good product, but they don’t seem to realize it.

The W-15

​The Workhorse W-15 is the first plug-in range extended electric pickup built from the ground up by an OEM. Lithium ion battery cells from Panasonic provide a 100 mile all‑electric range, while the onboard generator works to recharge while driving to get the job done.

The gasoline Range Extender offers additional range of high-efficiency driving. The W-15 comes equipped with an external 7.2 kw power outlet providing up to 30 amps directly from the vehicle battery pack.

The SureFly​

​After 78 years, the helicopter has been reinvented.

SureFly is a personal helicopter/VTOL aircraft designed for safe and easy flight. With eight independent motors each driving a single carbon fiber propeller, a backup battery power system, and a ballistic parachute to safely land in the event of emergency, the SureFly provides unparalleled safety for a personal aircraft.

To understand how precarious a position a company like Workhorse truly is in, I ask that you take a moment to watch these two short videos below. They show how companies that had a cutting edge product that was going to revolutionize the world, were completely clueless of what they had or how to bring it to market.

Steve Jobs was not really the creator of Apple Computers or Iphones but he recognized the potential of the technology and bought up the rights from those who created it:

And as some of you may know Elon Musk was not really the creator of Tesla but he, like Steve Jobs, knows how to invest in, and then take all the credit for a company:

I love a David and Goliath story. It’s part of the very fabric of America, to root for the underdog, prove the doubters wrong, cheer on the small guy.

Workhorse is definitely a David facing off against not one, but multiple Goliaths, like Tesla, Amazon, and the established auto-industry corporations.

Workhorse has great ideas, great products, but if they remain a relative unknown eventually they will be swallowed up. Tesla and Apple are really products of swallowing up the creations of someone else and then selling the brand name. Building it is only half the battle, the other half is knowing how to market it, so that it is being talked about regularly by the very people who would be your customers, in the social consciousness. Reaching them is what matters.

You need the type of talent and savvy running your marketing campaign that you have developing your technology, one cannot reach heights of greatness without the other.

Workhorse could be the next company to try and build a better tomorrow only to be bought up by those who know how to market a product, and make people believe in it.

Whatever the future holds for Workhorse, and the W-15, the fact that they are missing out on the opportunity present today, by not reaching potential buyers now, means they are missing out on millions, perhaps billions of dollars in revenues tomorrow.

If I could advise them, I'd tell them to focus on the product people want (pick-up trucks) and maybe tomorrow you can convince them to become interested in the future (the SureFly) and understand that without recognition status (which Tesla created long before it started producing its economical M3 vehicles) you won’t be able to reach anyone to sell your product, no matter how ahead of the competition it is.

A New Look For WorkHorse

Aug. 13, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Workhorse Group Inc. an American technology company focused on changing the way the world works by providing sustainable and cost-effective transportation solutions, announced today their corporate rebranding and first strategic marketing platform "Work Ahead" – unveiled in New York City at a public event showcasing the W-15 range extended electric pickup and SureFly personal electric helicopter.

CEO Steve Burns confident about the future

Workhorse announced in July that it had a binding agreement with United Parcel Service Inc. to fulfill the largest electric truck order ever with 950 of its N-GEN plug-in electric delivery vehicles.

Workhorse could have an even bigger order in the works soon. The company is one of five finalists in the running to secure a $5 billion federal contract to replace the entire fleet of U.S. Postal Service vehicles.

Burns said Workhorse has been testing its vehicles with USPS for seven to eight months and the winner of the contract, which would be the largest single order of automobiles ever, is expected to be announced this winter. Obviously securing such a contract would be monumental to the company's growth and success.

“We’re very happy with how our testing is going,” CEO Steve Burns said.

"We were first with the electric pickup truck," Burns said "the pickup truck is the number one consumer vehicle, but it's also the number one fleet vehicle...there's not even a mild hybrid. We just realized that the status quo of pickup trucks has almost been the same as it was invented, essentially."

"We wanted to get first-mover advantage," Burns said, as he nodded towards the W-15 pickup truck the company plans to have in full production by the end of 2018. "We want to beat Tesla by a few years."

Will Workhorse become a well known company in the future?

See results

© 2018 Ken Burgess

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