Thor CEO Dakota Semler, left, and COO Gio Sordoni with the ET-One electric semis at company headquarters in Los Angeles.Thor Trucks Thor Trucks, a young Los Angeles startup that began showing off its battery-powered Class-8 commercial rig around the time Elon Musk unveiled Tesla's futuristic semi, snagged an initial deal to create a pair of electric delivery trucks for UPS. The Atlanta-based shipping giant wants to deploy and start testing the medium-duty Class-6 Thor trucks this year around Los Angeles that go about 100 miles per charge, which takes an hour, the company said. If UPS likes how they perform, it has an option to add more to its massive fleet. "UPS believes in the future of commercial electric vehicles. We want to support the research needed to make advances and the companies developing those innovative products," Carlton Rose, president, global fleet maintenance and engineering for UPS, said in a statement.
Ryder is moving into the electric-truck business, an early sign that a market for commercial electric vehicles is beginning to take shape. Miami-based Ryder System Inc. announced a deal Monday with new Los Angeles company Chanje as the electric-truck maker's exclusive sales and service partner. "We believe electric vehicles will play a major role in the future of commercial transportation," Dennis Cooke, president of global fleet management at Ryder, said in a prepared statement. Ryder, one of the nation's largest medium-duty truck fleet management companies, will buy trucks from Chanje, then lease and service them through its extensive network. Leases will include fleet deals and one-off rentals to customers who want to try out the electric trucks.
DETROIT – Electric trucks are having a moment in the spotlight, but they won't replace diesel-powered trucks in big numbers until they overcome costs and other limitations. Tesla Inc. plans to unveil a semi tractor-trailer this week, its first foray into trucking after more than a decade of making cars and SUVs. German automaker Daimler AG showed off its own electric semi last month and says it could be on sale in a few years. Truck rental company Ryder just added 125 all-electric vans made by California startup Chanje to its fleet. "It's kind of like the checkered flag is being waved," said Glen Kedzie, energy and environmental counsel with the American Trucking Associations.
Chanje's vision sounds a lot like Tesla's: electric vehicles recharged via clean rooftop solar power. But the new company has no interest in the automobile market. Instead, it's entering what it believes to be a lucrative niche in medium-duty electric trucks. Most medium-duty electric trucks are internal-combusion vehicles hand-converted to run on electric motors and batteries. Chanje's trucks are not concept vehicles or prototypes.