Workhorse Group suspends deliveries, recalls C-1000 electric delivery van

EV startup Workhorse Group is recalling 41 of its C-1000 cargo delivery vehicles and suspending the remainder of its deliveries for this model, telling regulators Wednesday that “additional testing” is needed to certify the vehicles under Federal safety standards.

All automakers must certify their vehicles under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, minimum safety performance requirements issued by the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA). The additional testing should be completed in the fourth quarter, the company told the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company also filed a safety recall report with NHTSA, and noted that it had not received any customer reporters of safety issues relating to the C-1000.

Ohio-based Workhorse has been in the news lately, primarily for filing a legal complaint against the U.S. Postal Service for awarding a multi-billion dollar contract for electric delivery vehicles to defense contractor Oshkosh. The EV startup dismissed its challenge voluntarily last week.

Losing the USPS contract doesn’t mark the end of its woes. The SEC also opened an investigation into Workhorse at the beginning of September, though the regulator hasn’t disclosed what the investigation concerns. The company appointed CEO Richard Dauch to replace Duane Hughes in July.

The notice from Workhorse sent its shares tumbling by around 10%.

TechCrunch has reached out to both Workhorse and NHTSA and will update the story if they respond.


Polestar “will have to question everything” in order to build the first climate-neutral EV

Polestar, the Swedish electric vehicle brand spun out of Volvo Car Group, set on Wednesday a “moonshot goal” of creating the first climate neutral car by 2030. But instead of getting there through more widely-practiced offsetting measures, such as planting trees, the company said it’s going to fundamentally change the way the new EV is made.

That means rethinking every piece of the supply chain, from materials sourcing through to manufacturing, and even by making the vehicle more energy efficient.

“We’re going to do it by reducing emissions, eliminating emissions, rather than offsetting, like many are relying on today, because we see that offsetting is a worrying strategy,” Fredrika Klarén, Polestar’s Head of Sustainability, said in an interview with TechCrunch. “The science is not actually backing it up in terms of its capability of offsetting emissions from producing products.”

While the direct outcome will be a new car – what the company is calling Polestar 0 – it will require a total overhaul of the manufacturing process that could eventually extend to Polestar’s other models. Klarén said that although Polestar’s entire fleet will not be climate neutral by 2030, the company and its parent Volvo have already set targets of being climate neutral across their operations, including Polestar, by 2040.

Both of Polestar’s current models, Polestar 1 and 2, are manufactured in China. Klarén said while much about the Polestar 0 has yet to be determined, the company hopes that it, too will be Chinese-made. Although the country still has a strong reliance on coal, there’s massive development in sustainable technology and manufacturing, she pointed out.

“If I get to vote, we will continue producing in China, but that being said, the Polestar 0, the solutions we will use are not identified yet and we’re going to need to think in new ways we didn’t think was possible prior – where it will be produced, what materials will go in [it],” said Klarén.

Nor are any of the internal systems settled. Geely AG, the parent company of Volvo Cars and Polestar, has been developing its own internal computer-and-battery platform, but it hasn’t been decided whether the new Polestar model will use this system.

She said the most challenging parts of the EV manufacturing process to transition to climate neutral are the materials, specifically aluminum, steel, and battery components.

“We need to tackle the production-related emissions,” she explained. The environmental impact of producing steel, aluminum and the basic materials found in lithium-based batteries is still significant.

Along with the new vehicle, Polestar also launched a product sustainability declaration that clearly lists the carbon footprint of Polestar 2 and all coming models.

“Offsetting is a cop-out,” Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath said in a statement. “By pushing ourselves to create a completely climate-neutral car, we are forced to reach beyond what is possible today.  We will have to question everything, innovate and look to exponential technologies as we design towards zero.”