Just weeks after US firm Tesla revealed its first zero-emissions HGV, yet another outsider organisation has announced its intention to try to build an electric truck which will be able to compete with traditional diesel-powered models.
Thor Trucks provided the first details and images of the ET-One this month, promising that its all-electric power train will be capable of hauling loads weighing over 36 tonnes for distances of up to 300 miles on a single charge.
Price & Potential Future Cost
This fledgling model is expected to cost the equivalent of around £112,000 but will later be joined by a cheaper stable mate that has most of the same features but a significantly reduced range which is better suited to urban use rather than long-distance transport.
Tesla’s truck is claimed to be able to cover 400 miles before its onboard batteries have been exhausted, meaning that the ET-One is not quite in the same league on paper. But Thor is convinced that its efforts will still be worth considering thanks to some unique features not found anywhere else.
The main downside is that as it’s a start-up, the prototype truck that Thor has developed is made up of a hodgepodge of components from third-party manufacturers, and the firm needs a lot more investment to make progress with its own ambitious plans.
The good news is that the truck itself has been proven effective in tests carried out in the US. And its batteries are configured by Thor but built using cells and parts procured from elsewhere, which means that it has been able to get the project off the ground without significant expense getting in the way.
Company spokesperson Giordano Sordoni said that the hype surrounding electric trucks was intensifying all the time but could be seen as misleading, hence the decision by Thor to fashion a product that would help to cut through some of the cynicism facing this segment in some quarters.
Ecological Benefits & More
He said that as well as wanting to focus on the ecological benefits of switching to an electric power train, it was important to show that this technology could save businesses money over time and thus be easier to justify as an expense in the short term.
Thor is facing undeniably stiff competition, with Tesla being just one of the big manufacturers that are turning their attentions to the task of developing electric truck technology.
Mercedes-Benz and its parent firm Daimler have been making progress in this area, while in Japan the likes of Toyota and Hino are also putting a lot of resources into similar projects.
At the moment the key metric that any prospective electric truck needs to target to gain momentum is range. For city work an electric vehicle makes sense in terms of air quality, noise and fuel consumption, but heavy-duty haulage on motorways is a different matter, and even in a relatively small country like the UK the maximum 300- or 400-mile range of electric trucks may not be enough to satisfy hauliers.