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Nikola Motor Co is Building a Hydrogen-Electric Truck for the European Market

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【Summary】As the auto industry focuses much of its attention on developing electric vehicles, Nikola Motor Company is developing hydrogen-powered semi trucks as a viable alternative to traditional diesel-powered trucks. The truck manufacturer has announced a new hydrogen-powered truck specifically for the European market.

Eric Walz    Nov 06, 2018 3:34 PM PT
Nikola Motor Co is Building a Hydrogen-Electric Truck for the European Market
author: Eric Walz   

As the auto industry focuses much of its attention on developing electric vehicles, Nikola Motor Company is developing hydrogen-powered semi trucks as a viable alternative to traditional diesel-powered trucks. The truck manufacturer has announced a new hydrogen-powered truck specifically for the European market.

The privately held company announced its new truck dubbed the ‘Nikola Tre' which translates to ‘three' in Norwegian. The company cited widespread interest from overseas customers to develop the truck. The truck will comply with European regulations and fit within the current size and length restrictions for Europe.

"This truck is a real stunner and long overdue for Europe," said Nikola Motor Company Founder and CEO Trevor Milton. The Tre is the third model from Nikola, hence the name. The Tre follows the Nikola One and Nikola Two.

The Nikola Tre will offer 500 to 1,000 horsepower with a range of 500 to 1,200 kilometers depending on options and would be available for customers in about five years.

In the press release, Nikola wrote that European testing is projected to begin in Norway around 2020. Nikola is also in the preliminary planning stages to identify the proper location for its European manufacturing facility.

Nikola said that the truck will include redundant systems necessary to support autonomous driving, although the company hasn't announced its plans for autonomous driving capability.

Milton said in a statement, "It will be the first European zero-emission commercial truck to be delivered with redundant braking, redundant steering, redundant 800V DC 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 working with Nel Hydrogen of Oslo to provide hydrogen stations for the U.S. and will partner with the company for a network of hydrogen filling stations in Europe.

"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. Nikola's European stations are planned to come online around 2022 and are projected to cover most of the European market by 2030.

Although hydrogen powered vehicles make up just a small fraction of all vehicles on the road, hydrogen fuel cell technology is promising for the commercial trucking industry—offering lower fuel and maintenance costs.

Like electric carmaker Tesla, Nikola Motor was originally focused on battery-powered electric trucks, but the company switched to developing hydrogen-powered trucks as a more commercially viable solution for the trucking industry. The size and weight of a heavy lithium-ion battery would decrease load carrying weight and Nikola deemed hydrogen a much better and lower-cost solution.

The company, which recently moved its headquarters from Salt Lake City to Phoenix, is hosting an event in April 2019 called Nikola World, where it will show a prototype of the new Nikola Tre along with other new zero-emission products from Nikola, including the Nikola Two.

Nikola said it received approximately eleven billion dollars in pre-order reservations for its Nikola One and Two.

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