A few months after the announcement of his electric truck, the American company Nikola Motor finally presented the first prototype Nikola One at a presentation at its headquarters in Salt Lake City. The event did not sound any special surprises regarding electrofury and startup plans, but the names of the new partners were announced and more detailed information about what exactly the company will do and how it will work.
Nikola One is a truck with a carrying capacity of more than 15 tons, driven by an electric drive with a battery of 320 kWh, the energy of which is supplied by a block of hydrogen fuel cells. According to the manufacturer, a truck with zero emissions has an autonomous power reserve of almost 2000 km (1200 miles). Initially, it was planned that the machine would be equipped with a range expander with an internal combustion engine on natural gas, but also left the possibility of using gas in certain markets.
As noted by Electrek, the indicated characteristics of the tractor with its 320-kilowatt battery far exceed the performance of most electric vehicles, but the question of whether enough of this energy will be enough to transport 35-ton cargo remains open. At the same time, Trevor Milton, the concept of Nikola Motors will rely on the hydrogen infrastructure, which it will build throughout the United States, as well as partially in Canada.
In his presentation, Milton mentioned that hydrogen is the most common element in the universe, which of course is true, but do not forget that today the planet does not have any form suitable for existing energy storage systems - they have yet to be created by man. Nikola plans to do this with solar power and electrolysis. The company itself will build charging stations, electrolysis plants and transport hydrogen to gas stations, according to a press release.
The startup announced that it plans to cover North America with a network of more than 300 hydrogen filling stations, the construction of which will begin in 2018. Commissioning of the first stations is scheduled for the second half of 2019. As expected, the full refueling of the car will take no more than 15-20 minutes.
The company will not sell hydrogen (as well as the truck itself) - the cost of fuel necessary to pass 1 million miles (1.6 million km) will be included in the monthly fee for renting a hydrogen truck, which will be from 5000 to 7000 dollars. After 7 years (or 1 million miles), during which it will be serviced for free, the driver will be able to renew the lease with a new car.
Plans for the actual production of Nikola electric fuels appear to be more feasible in comparison with the hydrogen infrastructure, but the point is that - one does not work without the other.
The company entered into a cooperation agreement with the US heavy-duty truck manufacturer Fitzgerald. Together, the first 5,000 units will be produced, but according to Milton, over time, Nikola will fully cover the production process. This will be realized through the creation of its own plant with an investment of $ 1 billion, the construction of which is planned for the next year.
Where will the money for the construction of the plant come from, as yet unknown. But the startup still has enough time, since the release of the first electric trucks to the market is promised not earlier than 2020 - just before the launch of the first hydrogen stations.
The hydrogen tow truck Nikola One was developed by the team of the company in partnership with two engineering firms Pratt Miller and Meritor. This is how the prototype looks, not shown in the presentation:
The presented model is equipped with six electric motors, providing a total capacity of about 1000 liters. from. According to the stated characteristics, the electro-hydrogen truck Nikola One will be able to pick up speed of 97 km / h in 30 seconds, while similar diesel tractors do it no faster than 60 seconds.
The machine can be completed with a cabin for one or two beds, a 40-inch monitor with a resolution of 4K, high-speed wireless Internet and other household joys, including a microwave and a refrigerator.
The presentation also featured a Nikola Two wagon with a reduced cabin, but with the same drive specifications as the Nikola One. In addition, the company demonstrated a car Nikola Zero, which is an electric buggy with a traction battery with a capacity of 107 kWh and a power reserve of more than 300 miles (483 km), the sale of which is scheduled as early as 2017.