"We were just lost -- out of our element. We were whipsawed," Miller recalled when the presidents of Detroit's three auto companies were summoned to testify before Congress after the publication of 'Unsafe at Any Speed,' Ralph Nader's 1965 groundbreaking book that exposed the American auto industry's lax safety practices.
Check screen wash
As for the car itself, it is expected to be a range-extended electric sedan. The country's Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology indicated last year that the debut model will be an electric car with a small gasoline engine as a range extender, likely with a 15-kWh battery and a pure-electric range of 60 miles before the range extender kicks in. The consortium of companies expects a working prototype by 2019 and the start of production by 2021.
The Workhorse N-Gen sounds at first description like a Hollywood spy-movie cliché: a near silent electric powertrain within a white van with a rather frumpy, nondescript exterior—and a little drone aircraft deployed from the roof to make the final move to the target. Its reason for being is much more pragmatic, however; it’s the latest in a growing line of delivery vehicles from Workhorse of Ohio, positioned for the greening of corporate fleets while keeping ownership costs extremely low. The N-Gen is designed to replace a generation of small delivery vans powered by gasoline and diesel engines. Although final specs aren’t out yet, it’s expected to weigh hundreds of pounds less than those older vans, thanks to a lightweight composite body. Electric motors will provide about 100 miles of plug-in power, while a small onboard gasoline-fired range-extending engine will add another 75 miles of range. Workhorse claims up to 65 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) for the N-Gen. Although Workhorse has been teasing its W-15 range-extended electric pickup (pictured below), which we briefly drove earlier this year, for much longer, it’s the N-Gen that will reach the market first; production will start in the first quarter of next year. “It’s coming out first because regulatory-wise it’s just easier,” explained CEO Stephen Burns, explaining that it’s closely related to the vehicle that’s a finalist in the United States Postal Service Next Generation Delivery Vehicles (NGDV) vetting process. Workhorse, in conjunction with truck outfitter VT Hackney, delivered its six prototype vehicles on time in September for evaluation. The USPS is expected to announce around March 1 what company gets the contract to build up to 180,000 vehicles over a time period of up to seven years.
But what’s it like today?
If you can’t start your car, but have access to a 12-volt power supply in another car, then you can use a set of jump leads. If you're skilled enough and it's accessible, you could remove the battery and charge it indoors. This can be complex, not least because car batteries are heavy. You should always refer to the owner’s manual.
The group sent a telegram to Ford requesting a meeting about “a matter of management importance” and were quickly invited to Dearborn by Henry Ford II.