Nikola launches third hydrogen-electric semi
While some vehicle manufacturers – like Tesla and Ford – see the future of big rig road haulage as all-electric, others are banking on hydrogen-electric hybrids. Nikola Motors is one such company, already having two truck designs en route to production. Now there's a third on the way, with the Tre being developed specifically for European roads.
Nikola revealed a fully-built One semi late in 2016, which promised an emissions-free hauling range of up to 1,200 miles (1,930 km) per 15 minute fill up, 1,000 horses (745 kW) and 2,000 lb.ft (1,475 Nm) of torque. The One is currently up for pre-order, and Anheuser-Busch expects hundreds of them to be transporting its brews across the US by 2020 (though that expectation may not be met, more on the production schedule later).
Where the One is a hydrogen-electric sleeper semi, the Two rocks a day cab, and is also up for pre-order to North and South American buyers. If Europe, Asia and Australia were feeling a little left out of Nikola's plans, that's now been resolved with the announcement of the Nikola Tre.
Unlike the American trucks, the Tre (which means three in Norwegian) has a flat stubby nose and is available in 6 x 4 or 6 x 2 configurations. The given specs are similar to the One and Two vehicles – 500 to 1,000 hp (370 - 745 kW), up to 2,000 lb.ft of torque, a 500 to 1,200 km (310 - 745 mi) range (depending on options selected) and a fill-up time given as 20 minutes.
"This truck is a real stunner and long overdue for Europe," said Nikola's Trevor Milton. "It will be the first European zero-emission commercial truck to be delivered with redundant braking, redundant steering, redundant 800 Vdc batteries and a redundant 120 kW hydrogen fuel cell, all necessary for true level 5 autonomy. Expect our production to begin around the same time as our USA version in 2022 - 2023."
Nikola is currently searching for a European manufacturing facility and is working with Nel Hydrogen "to secure resources for our European growth strategy" – the same Oslo firm Nikola has been working with for its hydrogen station rollout plans in the US, which will see over 700 fueling stations operating across the US and Canada by 2028. The first European hydrogen stations are due to go online by 2022, with market coverage expected by 2030.
Nikola boasts that it has already secured about US$11 billion in pre-orders for its range of vehicles. A Tre prototype will be displayed at a Nikola World event to be held in Phoenix in April 2019. Testing is due to begin in Norway "around 2020."
Source: Nikola Motors