Electric delivery-van maker Workhorse Group (WKHS 4.31%) said that it has entered into strategic agreements with two subsidiaries of Japanese electronics giant Hitachi (HTHIF -2.48%), Hitachi America and Hitachi Capital America Corporation.
Under the agreements, Hitachi America and other Hitachi Group companies will help Workhorse scale up its production and build out a nationwide dealership network.
Workhose recently began production of its C-Series, a family of battery-electric package-delivery vans developed with input from United Parcel Service (UPS -0.42%). Some of the first C-Series vans are being made available to potential fleet customers via Ryder System's (R -1.16%) commercial-vehicle rental network.
Workhorse said that Hitachi will assess its manufacturing, supply chain, and other operational capabilities, and then provide recommendations to bring those operational capabilities up to best-in-class standards. This will be essential to support Workhorse's higher production needs for its C-Series vans, which will ramp up in the next several months.
In addition, Hitachi Capital will help Workhorse develop a national dealer network and will provide financing options for its customers and franchised dealers, Workhorse said.
As part of this process, Workhorse will adopt Hitachi's business-analytics platform, Lumada.
Workhorse CEO Duane Hughes said that Hitachi's expertise in electric-vehicle technology and factory automation will make it a valuable partner as the company ramps up its commercial-vehicle production.
That it could help with sales as well. "In addition, we believe Hitachi can help [Workhorse] drive customer orders as a well-known and respected player in the commercial leasing and finance industry, and we are looking forward to benefiting from their expertise," Hughes said.