Watch out, Elon Musk: A small San Fernando Valley startup is revving up to join the green truck movement with the debut of its new electric semi.
Thor Trucks – founded by 25-year-old Dakota Semler, who started Malibu Wine Safari at his family’s vineyard, Malibu Wines – on Wednesday unveiled the prototype of ET-One, a mid-sized semi that runs on a rechargeable battery. At full cargo capacity it can run up to 300 miles on a 90-minute charge, according to the company; a 100-mile base model starts at $150,000, while the 300-mile version is priced at $250,000. Traditional diesel trucks of the same size cost around $120,000,
The one-year-old North Hollywood company, which is self-funded by Semler, has been posited by media outlets as a competitor to much larger firms such as Tesla and Toyota Corp. for the electric truck market. Musk debuted Tesla’s electric semi prototype in mid-November, and has reportedly received pre-orders from PepsiCo, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and roughly a dozen other companies.
Thor’s 18-person team includes veterans of Boeing, BYD Motors and Faraday Future. Semler himself converted his mother’s SUV to run on vegetable oil at the age of 14, and credits his interest in trucking to his exposure to the industry through his family’s businesses, he wrote in a LinkedIn post on Wednesday.
Thor will begin demonstrating its product in 2018 and will go to production in 2019, according to the company.