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Italian Truck Maker Iveco Unveils the ‘Nikola TRE', an Electric Truck Built in a Joint Venture with Nikola Motor

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【Summary】​Iveco, the industrial truck unit of capital goods company CNH Industrial, unveiled its first electric truck built in a joint partnership with U.S. hydrogen-electric truck startup Nikola Motor. The Nikola TRE is designed for the European market and integrates Nikola’s advanced electric powertrain technology combined with a next-generation proprietary infotainment system.

FutureCar Staff    Dec 03, 2019 4:00 PM PT
Italian Truck Maker Iveco Unveils the ‘Nikola TRE', an Electric Truck Built in a Joint Venture with Nikola Motor

Iveco, the industrial truck unit of capital goods company CNH Industrial, unveiled its first electric truck built in a joint partnership with U.S. hydrogen-electric truck startup Nikola Motor.

The Nikola TRE is based on the IVECO S-WAY, a heavy-duty truck launched last July in Madrid, which has been well received by customers, according to Iveco. 

The Nikola TRE is designed for the European market and integrates Nikola's advanced electric powertrain technology combined with a next-generation proprietary infotainment system. The zero-emissions TRE truck will feature a modular battery system with a total capacity of up to 720 kWh, which can be customized to match different customer needs. 

The electric driveline will deliver 480 kW Continuous Power Output. The Nikola TRE will also be available in 2- and 3-axle rigid versions, with a GVWR from 18 to 26 tons.

The Nikola TRE infotainment system is based on Nikola's proprietary operating system that integrates infotainment and navigation functions, as well as controls for the bulk of the truck's functions from a center-mounted display. 

The system's features include climate control, mirror adjustment, suspension height adjustment, a 360-degree camera system, navigation, Bluetooth audio system, comprehensive vehicle settings and diagnostics. 

The vehicle leverages Bluetooth technology to create a secure link between the vehicle and the customer's mobile device, creating a truly hands-free media experience. This also enables a smart keyless entry system to unlock as the driver approaches the vehicle. The system can even adjust settings such as ride height and climate temperature to driver preference.

The TRE will be launched at the IAA 2020 commercial vehicle exhibition in Hannover, Germany, with the first units being delivered to customers in 2021.

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Although Nikola Motor is developing hydrogen-powered trucks, The first Nikola TRE trucks for the European market is fully-electric. The truck is designed around Nikola's hydrogen fuel cell configuration, so the TRE Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) can be converted to fuel-cell technology in the future. 

The truck will have a range of up to 600 miles (966 km). Deliveries of the first TRE hydrogen cell trucks will be delivered to customers in 2023.

 As part of the joint venture with Nikola, CNH Industrial took a $250 million stake in electric truck startup totaling $100 million in cash and $150 million in other services, giving Nikola Motors the scale and manufacturing capacity for its electrified truck technologies.

The first Nikola TRE prototypes were developed in just three months and Nikola Motor CEO Trevor Milton said interest already exceeds production capacity.

"We'll be sold out for many years," Milton said at the official presentation of the truck in Milan, Italy. "Just three months after we signed our partnership we have been able to deliver this prototype, just imagine what we'll do in the next three years." 

The electric trucks with will help Iveco comply with a 2019 EU agreement to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new trucks and buses by 30 percent by 2030. An interim 15 percent reduction target is set for 2025, with incentives for manufacturers like Iveco to produce zero-emission trucks.

Arizona-based Nikola Motor is one of the most promising new truck startups that is aiming to disrupt the trucking industry by replacing fleets of highly-polluting diesel trucks with zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell and battery-electric technology. 

Last month Nikola announced a new "game changing" battery technology it said it will reveal early next year. According to the company, this battery technology could increase the range of current EV passenger cars from around 300 miles up to 600 miles with little or no increase to battery size and weight. 

Nikola is currently building two hydrogen fuel cell trucks for the North America market, the Nikola One and Two. Both zero emissions trucks produce around 1,000 horsepower and up to 2,000 lb ft of torque with a range of 500 to 750 miles. The hydrogen tanks can be refilled in about 15 minutes.

Orders for Nikola's hydrogen fuel cell trucks are already piling up. Nikola said it has orders for 14,000 of them. In April, the company said it had to stop taking orders from future customers as demand far exceeds its production capabilities.

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