Electric Cars

UPS developing an electric delivery truck with startup Thor Trucks

It could be on the road as early as this year.

A world filled with quiet delivery trucks sounds pretty swell.

UPS

UPS has no interest in putting all its advanced-technology eggs in a single basket.

UPS announced today that it has entered a partnership with the LA-based startup Thor Trucks to develop and deploy a medium-duty electric delivery vehicle. The truck is expected to be on the ground later this year, but UPS didn't get more specific than that.

Specs are limited, but they sound promising. Thor's electric truck should carry a range of about 100 miles. Thor will both develop and build the batteries. Given the range estimate, it stands to reason that the trucks will focus on last-mile delivery, likely in urban environments.

UPS will spend the first six months testing its electric truck, looking at all sorts of criteria like reliability, durability, battery capacity and fleet integration. The testing will take place in and around the Los Angeles area. If all goes according to plan, UPS says it's not averse to buying more trucks than it originally planned to.

UPS is working with a wide variety of companies to develop delivery vehicles powered by alternative energy sources. It's teamed up with Workhorse Group to deploy 50 plug-in hybrid delivery trucks, which UPS hopes can improve fuel efficiency by 400 percent compared to its current fleet. The logistics giant also placed an order for 125 Tesla Semi electric semi trucks, which was the largest order to date when it was announced last December.