UPS has made a deal with LA start-up Thor Trucks to create a pair of battery-powered Class 6 commercial vehicles.
The two trucks, which can travel about 100 miles per charge, will be tested around Los Angeles. UPS says it will add more to its fleet if it likes how they perform.
Thor Trucks, which is only two years old, is run by CEO Dakota Semler and COO Giordano Sordoni, both of whom are in their mid-twenties.
“UPS believes in the future of commercial electric vehicles,” said Carlton Rose, president of global fleet maintenance and engineering at UPS. “We want to support the research needed to make advances and the companies developing those innovative products.
“Performance is critical in our fleet. We are excited to get this vehicle on the road to test how it handles routes in and around Los Angeles.”
Class 6 trucks are those with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of between 19,501-26,000 pounds, or 8,846-11,793kg. Thor will build the battery packs, which will then be installed into modified aluminium chassis from manufacturer Morgan Olson.
Thor has also revealed a heavier Class 8 vehicle. It’s due to manufacture and market its latest model, the ET-One, in 2019, which is designed to haul cargo of up to 80,000 pounds at 300 miles per charge.
This is comparable to the Tesla Semi, which offers between 300-500 miles per charge, depending on the model. UPS pre-ordered 125 Tesla Semis in 2017.
Semler described the trial with Thor as “an incredibly valuable opportunity to gain insight into what it will take to fulfill our mission of getting entire electric fleets on the road.”