Tech firm Charge to produce range of ‘affordable’ electric trucks by 2017

Automotive technology firm Charge plans to bring its new range of lightweight, electric trucks to market by 2017.

The company said it wants to “remove the barriers to entry” for electric vehicles by pricing the new trucks in line with conventional vehicles.

Vehicles are built using ultra-lightweight composite materials that the firm said significantly reduces the weight of the vehicle. By combining this technology with Charge’s custom-built hardware, including power electronics and motors, the manufacturer said it can reduce the cost of operating by more than 50%.

All vehicles receive over-the-air updates like a smart phone and are autonomous ready.

The trucks also produce zero emissions for the first 100 miles they travel, while for longer journeys a dual-mode (petrol-powered) can be used to ‘top up’ the battery and extend the range to 500 miles.

Charge develops trucks in a range of sizes from 3.5 tonnes to 26 tonnes.

Trucks will also meet new EV legislation globally including mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s new Direct Vision Standard for lorries due to the large, panoramic windows in the cab.

The manufacturer said the truck’s simple design means it will take one person just four hours to build an entire vehicle: meaning that 10 men, over two shifts a day can assemble 10,000 trucks a year.

As Charge plans to scale its operation globally, it said this will allow it to serve “the huge demand”.   The first new factory will open in 2017 near Charge’s current HQ in Oxfordshire where the first trucks were designed and built.

Denis Sverdlov, Charge CEO, said: “We find trucks today totally unacceptable. At Charge we are making trucks the way they should be – affordable, elegant, quiet, clean and safe.

“We are removing all the barriers to entry for electric vehicles by pricing them in line with conventional trucks, giving every fleet manager, tradesman or company, no matter how big or small, the opportunity to change the way they transport goods and make our towns and cities better places to live in.”

Earlier this year Charge became the official electric truck partner of Formula E using its prototype truck for the driver parade and logistics on and off the tracks which are built on city streets.