Package mover UPS is partnering with Thor Trucks – the LA startup which launched a Tesla Semi rival in December 2017 – to build and test an electric class 6 delivery truck. If all goes well, more medium-duty electric delivery vans from Thor could be added to the global logistics company's existing zero-emissions fleet.

UPS has already dipped its significant toes into the electric truck pond with the help of Workhorse and Arrival, and is now Thor's first commercial partner since the latter launched the ET-One semi late last year, and potentially its first customer.

UPS has agreed to put a medium-duty electric truck through its paces in the Los Angeles metro area for 6 months, "delivering packages in one of the most congested metro areas in the country with an actual UPS driver behind the wheel." The company will also be evaluating durability, battery capacity, technical integration and engineering in tests away from the delivery routes, too.

Thor is aiming for a range of about 100 miles between charges of a proprietary battery pack, with a full charge taking an hour. The body of the truck will come courtesy of walk-in van maker Morgan Olson, built on a Thor custom chassis.

"UPS believes in the future of commercial electric vehicles," said Carlton Rose from UPS. "We want to support the research needed to make advances and the companies developing those innovative products. 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 global logistics company has hinted that if all goes well, more class 6 electric trucks from Thor could join its fleet. Thor says it intends to get the production price for a truck with a 50 mile range down to US$68,000, which is reported to be in line with similar-sized diesel vehicles. The medium-duty Thor trucks are expected to be made commercially available early next year.

Sources: Thor Trucks, UPS