UPS partners with L.A.-based startup Thor on electric delivery truck

The delivery company plans to buy 9,300 low-emission vans

United Parcel Service said it would partner with Los Angeles-based company Thor Trucks to develop an electric medium-duty delivery truck, as the package delivery company expands its fleet of alternative-fuel vehicles.

The truck, developed jointly with the electric commercial vehicle startup, is expected to be deployed later this year, UPS said on Tuesday.

The truck will have a driving range of about 100 miles, with lightweight battery designed and built by Thor.

UPS will test the class-6 delivery truck for the first six months, including its battery capacity and technical integration, after which UPS may buy more of these trucks.

This will be a part of UPS's plan of about 9,300 low-emission vehicles, including all-electric, hybrid electric and compressed natural gas, to understand which technology works best for some routes.

UPS has partnered with Workhorse Group to build an all-new electric delivery van, with a company called Arrival in Europe for a futuristic-looking little van, and it also has pre-ordered 125 electric semi-trucks from Tesla. Thor, meanwhile, has been working on its ET-One big truck with a 300-mile range for regional hauling.

Vehicle manufacturers such as Daimler AG and Navistar International Corp, and a slew of new entrants, are racing to overcome the challenges of substituting batteries for diesel engines in delivery vehicles as regulators crack down on carbon dioxide and soot pollution.

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