Charge, a UK-based technology company, has announced the launch of an ultra-lightweight electric truck that promises to be ready to operate autonomously when driverless regulations allow it.
In a statement, the company described its electric trucks as being “autonomous ready, built for future driverless regulations and ready at the push of a button”.
The vehicles will be able to receive over-the-air software updates, said Charge.
The company’s approach to autonomous technologies appears to be similar to that of electric car maker Tesla.
Last month, Tesla announced that all of its new cars will have full self-driving hardware built in, ready for when regulators approve its use on public roads.
In addition to their driverless-ready capabilities, Charge says that the simple design and modular construction of its trucks allows them to be assembled easily and efficiently; the company claims that one person can build an entire truck in just four hours.
The vehicles are also environmentally-friendly, according to Charge, producing zero emissions for the first 100 miles they travel. On longer journeys, their range can be extended to as much as 500 miles, using a dual mode to top up the battery.
Launching the trucks at a technology conference in London, Denis Sverdlov, Charge’s 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,” he said.
Thanks to a combination of the ultra-lightweight composite materials used in their construction and custom-built hardware, Charge says that its trucks can also reduce operating costs by at least 50%.
The company plans to open its first factory in the UK next year, with the first electric vehicles also going on sale in 2017.