Workhorse (WKHS) has been testing its truck-based drone delivery system every day since it received an exemption from the Federal Aviation Administration to do so in early December. Stephen Burns, CEO of Workhorse, said drone delivery is coming, but the government is taking it slow.
"Delivery trucks are ubiquitous so a driver can jump off that truck, maybe a mile or two away, and watch the drone," said Burns. "That's the way you ease into something."
Workhorse manufactures medium-duty, EPA-approved battery-electric delivery vehicles and fully integrated truck-launched, FAA Section 333-exempt unmanned aerial systems delivery drones.
Amazon (AMZN) has also been cleared by the government to test drone delivery for its products. Nevertheless, the e-commerce giant's drones would be forced to fly from warehouses many miles away. It's that loss of control in heavily populated areas that has the government worried, even as hobbyists can use their drones without much restriction at all.
Amazon is part of Growth Seeker's portfolio.
"The FAA has been trying to regulate commercial drones for six years and it's an interesting thing when technology outruns the regulatory process," said Burns. "This technology is flying and they are trying to keep up. They want to balance safety with not letting America get too far behind."
As for its electric vehicle business, Burns said Workhorse just started delivering trucks to UPS (UPS) to fulfill a 125 unit order, the largest electric truck order ever. He says the U.S. Postal Service is still considering its bid for an even larger deal.
"We are essentially the Tesla (TSLA) of trucks," says Burns. "These happen to be large 20,000 pound trucks, but essentially they are a battery and a motor. And we use the same Panasonic cylindrical cell batteries as Tesla."
The big difference, says Burns, is that Workhorse does not have a charging network around the world. Unlike Tesla's vehicles, Workhorse's trucks carry a small engine that kicks in if the battery runs low.
"If you are a fleet guy, you have to say that the show will always go on," said Burns. "If you are working till 10 p.m. on Christmas and it's an extra-long day, you need to know you will get back."