Tesla May Have Some Serious Competition From This Startup Electric Truck Company Named After A Marvel Hero

Patricia Grannum - Author

Dec. 16 2017, Updated 9:24 a.m. ET

Tesla’s Semi Truck could be getting some serious competition from a company that shares a name with a Marvel hero. Thor trucks, an electric truck startup, has recently unveiled their own prototype and, according to The Verge, they are planning to get their vehicles on the road before Tesla does in 2019.

But Thor’s prototype, called the ET One, is a bit different from Tesla’s truck. It has a maximum 3oo mile range to Tesla’s max 500-mile range. Tesla has a 300-mile version as well that will retail at $150,000, the same price as Thor’s 300-mile truck. Thor is reportedly working on a 100-mile version as well.

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What makes Thor Trucks really stand out from Tesla is their manufacturing process. They take trucks that run on fossil fuels and turn them into battery-powered vehicles. To do so, they use their own powertrain technology and batteries that they produce.

They’ve admitted that they use this process because they don’t have the resources to create their own truck from the ground up.

“There’s been smoke and mirrors in this space, and a lot of buzz,” Thor’s co-founder, Giordano Sordoni, said in an interview with The Verge. “We want to be mindful about how long it takes to engineer hardware that’s super safe and effective.”

That “smoke and mirrors” comment sounds like a not-so-subtle dig at Tesla and its CEO, Elon Musk.

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Anyway, Sardoni added that he and his partner wanted to start a company that could pursue some lofty social and environmental goals while still making money. His partner, Dakota Semler, has a history of converting fuel engines. When he was a child, he transformed the engine in his mother’s SUV so that it could run on vegetable oil. He also grew up around a trucking business as his family owned a fleet of 150 heavy-duty commercial vehicles.

The chassis on the ET One is originally from a Navistar commercial truck. It utilizes heavy-duty Dana axles and a motor from a supplier. They make their own battery modules in-house using cells and packs they acquire from a vendor. Sardoni added that they had no interest in “reinventing the wheel,” because they don’t have a huge factory for producing batteries in Nevada.

That’s another veiled reference to their main competitor, Tesla.

Thor Trucks may have some catching up to do if they want to match Tesla in terms of orders. As Reuters recently reported, PepsiCo has ordered 100 of Tesla’s electric haulers. Budweiser has also made a pre-order along with Walmart and other large companies with sizable shipping fleets.


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