Tesla’s newest plans for a fleet of electric trucks that could transform long-haul transportation has been making headlines since it was unveiled last November. While the news of a high-powered truck was news for many, there was one small group that knew the future wasn’t in Musk’s pageantry – it had already arrived.
The Thor Trucks Startup
Thor Trucks is a small startup, boasting less than 20 employees and one determined leader less than a quarter of a century old. But with the kind of determination you can only find in small groups of determined optimists, Thor trucks has come through with an electric truck designed with short-haul goals in mind. Elon Musk may have his eye on cross-country travel, but the Thor team wants to power the delivery trucks and short-haul vehicles that are dispatched to take goods from long-haul transports and deliver the final mile.
Thor’s 25-year-old leader, Dakota Semler, developed their electric truck, the ET1, to grab a piece of the booming truck market. Semler and his team have already overcome some pretty long odds, thanks to new breakthroughs in battery life, electric motors and next-gen software that makes operating these high tech vehicles about as simple as ordering pizza and a movie from the app on your tablet.
Thor vs. Tesla
Comparing Tesla’s semi plans against those of Thor isn’t really fair though. After all, Tesla has set a vague timeline with fuzzy details on pricing. Thor, meanwhile, is already hitting the streets.
The ET1 has already been spotted driving around Hollywood and onlookers have been eager to snap a pic and post it online. Picture, articles, and hashtags about Thor trucks pop up on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Thor trucks may beat Tesla to market, but that doesn’t mean they’re out to undercut the competition. The ET1 is set to begin shipping in 2019 with a $150,000 starting price and a 300-mile range. That means it won’t attract the attention of the lucrative long-haul market but it’s likely to pique the interest of people buying medium-duty delivery trucks, a market that couldn’t benefit from the grand scheme plans of Tesla, but who will feel the pinch as more stringent regulations on emissions come into place.
A company dedicated to electric conversion
Thor and its dedicated employees aren’t car manufacturers – a point they are eager to make. Instead, they are known for modifying cars and retrofitting them with electric engines, better batteries and the software needed to monitor, regulate and control their miracle on wheels. At the end of the day, Thor sees itself as a company that can customize any fleet, making the conversion to electric much easier and more appealing. Semler says that one of his main goals is the ability to create custom fleets for clients.
Semler and his crew may be small, but they are already proving they pack a punch. With employees who have come from Boeing, Faraday & Future and BYD Auto, this start-up is ready to move quickly and capture a niche market. Will their approach of customization and adaptation change short-haul delivery trucks? It’s still too early to tell, but the buzz they’re creating implies that change has already begun.