Workhorse Group Inc. has announced a plan to debut its hybrid electric octocopter at the January 2018 Consumer Electronics Show.
Its hybrid-electric octocopter, dubbed the SureFly, is a personal 2-seater that runs on eight carbon fiber propeller motors, a gas engine, dual lithium battery packs packing 7.5-kWh each, and a ballistic parachute that drops in the event of a global apocalypse. Its gas engine will generate the electricity with a backup power source using the battery pack. Workhorse Group Inc. claims an estimated range of 70-miles and a top speed of 70 mph, translating to an hour of flight time for every tank of gas.
No word yet on interior specifications other than drone-like maneuverability with a joystick to go up, down, and to either side.
First introduced at the June Paris Air Show, the Consumer Electronics Show will mark the Surefly’s U.S. debut, and production is targeted for 2019. Also a mystery at this stage is the exact price but the range is expected to be around $200,000. In the future, Workhorse Group Inc. hopes to introduce autonomous models with 400 pounds payloads. At the moment, the Surefly is pilot-operated, awaiting FAA approval.
According to the Surefly website, the personal octocopter will carry a multitude of users, primarily to serve precision agriculture, emergency response, city commutes, and military applications.
Past electric models by Workhorse have focused on cargo and transportation, particularly with its drivable W-15 electric pickup truck concept. This one has seen orders from fleet management company Ryder System Inc. and UPS with production and delivery set to start by the end of 2018. Also, Workhorse is making a bid to produce the U.S. Postal Service’s new mail delivery trucks with prototypes under development.
Workhorse Group Inc. is also planning to unveil an electric pickup truck and a new electric delivery “N-Gen” van at the Consumer Electronics Show. Its N-Gen electric delivery van is claimed to hold 100-miles of all-electric range with range extension and integrated unmanned package delivery capabilities, along with a very low floor to improve cargo capacity.
“CES is the perfect technology venue for us to showcase our three new technology firsts,” said Steve Burns, Workhorse CEO. “We know technology-informed people come to CES from all over the world, and we are very excited to show them our SureFly, our low delivery-platform electric N-Gen van, and our W-15 electric pickup.”
The Workhorse brand started in March of 2015 after being acquired by AMP Electric Vehicles, a vehicle electrification company that began electrifying two-seaters before entering a nationwide Progressive Insurance competition to introduce an electric production vehicle to market. After becoming a finalist, the company branched out to electrification package creation for larger vehicles such as the Mercedes Benz ML350 and the Chevy Equinox before going public in 2010. Later, AMP changed its name to Workhorse Group Incorporated, now traded on the NASDAQ.