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August 6, 2018 1:45 PM, EDT
UPS, Thor to Partner on Battery-Electric Class 6 Delivery Truck
Class 6 Delivery Truck Rendering of the Thor, UPS collaboration. (UPS Inc.)

UPS Inc. has announced a collaboration with Los Angeles-based Thor Trucks on a battery-powered, Class 6 delivery truck that can drive approximately 100 miles on a single charge.

Thor, a startup founded in 2016, will build two of these trucks for UPS, according to a July 31 press release from the parcel carrier. The vehicles feature custom chassis with bodies from Morgan Olson and can be recharged in 60 minutes.

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For a model with a 50-mile range, Thor is targeting a production price of $68,000, according to information provided by a representative of Thor Trucks.

UPS will test the vehicle in its fleet for six months, evaluating factors such as durability, battery capacity, technical integration and engineering, on and off the streets of Los Angeles, the company said. This is the latest in a line of electric vehicle partnerships UPS has forged; in the past, it has collaborated with manufacturers including Arrival, Daimler, Tesla and Workhorse. This will be the first industry collaboration for Thor Trucks.

“We want to support the research needed to make advances and the companies developing those innovative products,” said Carlton Rose, president of global fleet maintenance and engineering for UPS, per the release. “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.”

The companies will collaborate on a Class 6 truck, rather than a more traditional delivery van, due to a surge in e-commerce that has heightened demand for larger delivery trucks, particularly in last-mile delivery, according to information provided by Thor.

Thor in December 2017 announced plans to build a battery-electric Class 8 truck called the ET-1. The company has sought partnerships with existing automakers in recent months, with an ultimate goal to reach market in 2019.

“We’re excited about working with a forward-thinking company like UPS, particularly as our first collaboration,” Thor co-founder and CEO Dakota Semler said, per the release. “UPS is committed to sustainability and operates one of the most well-respected and complex fleets in the country. This is also an incredibly valuable opportunity to gain insight into what it will take to fulfill our mission of getting entire electric fleets on the road.”

The baseline Class 8 ET-1, with a range of 100 miles, will cost $150,000. Another model in planning will reach 300 miles and cost $250,000. The company also is exploring opportunities in China and Europe.

UPS ranks No. 1 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest for-hire carriers in North America.