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Workhorse CEO Updates Company's Progress, SureFly Timeline

The SureFly is just one of the products that Workhorse is working on. Additional projects include electric delivery vans and electric pickups.

The SureFly is just one of the products that Workhorse is working on. Additional projects include electric delivery vans and electric pickups.

Known for its efforts to develop an electric delivery van, Workhorse is also keeping itself busy in a number of other areas. One of those areas is on display this week at the North American International Auto Show.

FreightWaves caught up with Steve Burns, CEO, to check in on the company's progress, and how close it may be to selling its SureFly personal helicopter.

The SureFly is classified as a personal helicopter/eVTOL aircraft. Workhorse (NASDAQ: WKHS) has received FAA approval to test the copter but is still trying to secure approval to sell it. Burns said the company is "six months into a two-year journey" to get the product approved and sold.

Burns noted that there is plenty of interest in the two-person SureFly, from paramedic applications to the military, which is looking for fully autonomous operation where it can fly the SureFly into an area, drop supplies and fly it out without putting servicemembers in harm's way. The copter could also remove a seat to be used for cargo delivery.

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Burns also said the recent round of funding Workhorse secured will be used for its ongoing operations. Specifically, the $35 million from Marathon Asset Management will be used for current working capital, parts acquisitions to fulfill existing and future customer purchase orders and contracts as well as to satisfy full repayment of the senior secured notes incurred in July 2018.

Workhorse is also working with Duke Energy Corp. (NYSE: DUK) on a battery leasing program that would provide Duke customers a cost-competitive elective vehicle product alternative.

As part of the relationship, signed on Nov. 28, 2018, Duke agreed to purchase 615,000 Panasonic battery cells from Workhorse for $1.3 million. Duke Energy intends to explore further development of eFleet solutions to Workhorse customers which may include single-point management and financing of all the Behind the Meter (BTM) infrastructure necessary to support depot wide electrification, vehicle/battery leasing and distributed energy resources.

Burns also told FreightWaves the company continues to see good progress on its electric van platform and is still waiting to hear whether its vehicles will be chosen as the next vehicle for the U.S. Postal Service. He didn't have a timetable on when USPS would make a decision but was pleased that Workhorse had made the final four.

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