The Salt Lake City based alternative energy truck maker has a new Hydrogen semi prototype with some impressive stats.
If you’re a Fortune 500 company and want to get in on the ground level of zero emissions trucking, you know have 100 percent more options, from one to two. As American Hybrid Truck Design company Nikola Motor Company in a press release earlier today (Nov. 5, 2018) they’ve got a whole new electric Semi that’ll hit the market, best case scenario, by 2022. Whereas Tesla relies on a honking slab of batteries for go-juice, Nikola is betting on Hydrogen which befits a semi that can carry such large cargo. Check out a couple photos of this supposed Tesla Semi killer below.
Behold, the Nikola Tre (Three). The Tre is to enter production by 2023. Come see it in person at Nikola World 2019. Europe, here we come and here we come fast. This thing will out pull most every diesel in its class https://t.co/0rIMdMEplk #dieselisdeal #emissionsgameover pic.twitter.com/itZ8TCR3EM
— Nikola Motor Company (@nikolamotor) November 5, 2018
The tale of the tape is pretty impressive. Electric motors range in power presumably based on final cost and range with the cheapest Nikola Tre’s having between 500-1000 HP and up to 2,000 lb-ft. Since these semi’s have electric motors on more than one wheel, you can achieve torque vectoring which allows control of each wheel independently and allows for a more dynamic driving experience with each wheel being able to pull this Nikola Tre through corners.
The big selling point of this Hydrogen semi is its refueling capabilities, 20 minutes to fill up which is a lot better than what a Tesla Semi can do which takes hours using regular Tesla Superchargers. This is based on chance encounters with one of the two Tesla Semi’s caught charging in the wild and, with some simple maths, we can estimate just how long charging actually takes, 5.2 hours according to this estimate.
Nikola Tre is of course contingent on a charging infrastucture which, at the moment, is lacking considerably in the United States. As I’ve blogged about multiple times this Summer, a couple hundred Honda Clarities and Toyota Mirai’s already take a toll on a localized hydrogen refueling infrastructure, can you imagine what it would take to refuel something the size of a Nikola Tre regularly?
To that end, Nikola does say that
“Nikola is currently working with Nel Hydrogen of Oslo to provide hydrogen stations for USA. “Nel has been good to work with for our USA station design and rollout. We will work with Nel to secure resources for our European growth strategy. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but with the right partners, we can accomplish it,” said Kim Brady, Nikola Motor Company CFO.
By 2028, Nikola is planning on having more than 700 hydrogen stations across the USA and Canada. Each station is capable of 2,000 to 8,000 kgs of daily hydrogen production. Nikola’s European stations are planned to come online around 2022 and are projected to cover most of the European market by 2030.”
If, and that’s a big if, there are those 700 stations in place, theoretically these big trucks can run, but then again, we already know how finicky H2 stations can be.
And don’t get me started about the whole zero-emissions claim, which largely depends on HOW you make your hydrogen.
Nikola plans to have a working prototype by April so we’ll have more concrete stats by then.
This is a bold press release from Nikola with a possible game changer if they get all their moving pieces in play.
Until then, don’t hold your breath on this H2 truck.