Thor Trucks wants to take on Tesla with its own electric semi truck

Thor Trucks ET-One
Tesla’s electric semi truck is drawing lots of attention, not to mention orders from major corporations. But now a new competitor has emerged with an all-electric big rig of its own. The Thor Trucks ET-One is the product of a small Los Angeles-area startup. It may be named after the god of thunder, but does Thor have what it takes to challenge what is arguably the biggest name in electric vehicles?

The brutish-looking ET-One doesn’t have the sleek lines of Tesla’s truck, but it should offer similar performance. Thor promises a 300-mile range and the ability to haul up to 80,000 pounds with a base price of $150,000. All of those figures match Tesla’s estimates for the base-model version of its truck. But Tesla also plans to offer a version with 500 miles of range for $180,000. Both trucks are expected to enter production in 2019.

It’s unclear if Thor Trucks will try to match Tesla’s claimed 0-to-60 mph time of 5.0 seconds (which admittedly isn’t very relevant to truckers), or whether it will include a comparable amount of bells and whistles. Tesla has said its semi truck will get many electronic driver aids that are already common in passenger cars, including autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, and forward collision warning, as standard equipment.

Thor Trucks also faces the same hurdles as every other startup trying to build vehicles. Tesla faces significant challenges because it’s never built a commercial truck before, but Thor Trucks hasn’t built anything before. Vehicle manufacturing is a complex and expensive undertaking that has left a number of companies broken and defeated.

Tesla and Thor Trucks aren’t the only companies looking to tackle zero-emission trucks. Cummins unveiled its own prototype electric truck earlier this year, and Daimler is already selling its Fuso eCanter electric delivery truck. Toyota is testing a hydrogen fuel-cell semi truck in California, and Nikola Motors wants to use fuel cells to power its own production semi truck.

Whether it’s batteries or fuel cells, zero-emission commercial trucks make sense. Commercial vehicles cover vastly more mileage than the average passenger car every year, and usually with much worse fuel economy. Most commercial trucks are operated by fleets, which can purchase them in batches and set up charging and fueling infrastructure at depots. It’s a much less chaotic process than enticing individual consumers to buy electric passenger cars.

Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?

Ford’s born-again Bronco off-roader will soothe your 1990s nostalgia

Ford confirmed it will bring the Bronco back to American showrooms in 2020. We haven't seen the truck yet, but dealers who got a preview of it during a private event say it's a true off-roader aimed directly at the Jeep Wrangler.

The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini is in the final stages of developing an electric version of the Cooper. The 2020 Cooper SE will receive powertrain components from the BMW i3, including a 181-horsepower electric motor and battery technology.

Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.

Formula 1 is putting data in the driver’s seat, and not all racers are happy

After a single weekend of racing, a Formula 1 pit crew typically pulls around 2TB of data from the car. Everything, from tire pressure to the temperature of the track, is recorded and analyzed in the name of boosting performance -- and not…

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.
Product Review

By adding features, tech, and all-wheel drive, Mazda puts the 3 in a class of one

Since its introduction in 2003, Mazda’s compact Mazda3 has been a mainstay of the brand’s driver-oriented strategy. Mazda now plans to move upmarket, and the all-new 2019 Mazda3 offers some clues about how that’s going to work.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!

Tesla Model 3 vulnerability exposed at Pwn2Own; hackers take home the car

A Tesla Model 3 vulnerability was exposed at the Pwn2Own hacking competition. The hackers, who were able to display a message on the electric vehicle's internet browser, won $35,000 and took home the car.

Is this electric car startup the next Tesla, or will it go the way of Coda?

The electric car startup formerly known as EVelozcity has changed its name to Canoo. It also announced a lineup of four cars including a commuter-friendly model and a lifestyle-oriented car. Its first electric vehicles will begin to appear…

Recall bounty hunters needed as millions ignore deadly Takata airbag recall

It's the recall campaign from hell and too many people aren't responding. Toyota Motor North America (TMNA) and Carma Project want to give financial rewards to people who alert family and friends to the deadly Takata airbag recall.