The Nikola Motor Company emerged from silent mode today to unveil plans for the first-ever 2000 horsepower (HP) electric class 8 semi-truck, dubbed the Nikola One (named after Nikola Tesla).
The Nikola One semitrailer will be capable of pulling a gross weight of 80,000 pounds and have more than a 1,200-mile range between stops, the company said.
“The reason for the horsepower increase is that with electric motors you only use what you need unlike a diesel engine, so most of the time, you will only need 400 to 500 horsepower out of the 2,000 HP,” a spokesperson for Nikola Motor Co. said in an email replay to Computerworld. You don’t waste any energy that you don’t use with electric motors. But when going up a hill, a diesel is not safe operating at 35 mph or less, so with the extra horsepower, the electric allows you to climb to full speed limit.
The semitrailer will sport a 320 kilowatt hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery pack, along with a 150 gallon fuel-agnostic turbine; the standard model will have a natural gas tank.
Nikola claims the semitrailer will cost half as much to operate as traditional diesel trucks. The company also said the truck’s lithium-ion battery will never require recharging because the turbine will charge it as the vehicle drives, just like other consumer hybrid vehicles.
The Nikola One will also sport regenerative braking technology, an energy recovery mechanism that will slow the vehicle by converting kinetic energy into a form that can be stored until needed. Regenerative breaking is more efficient that traditional braking, which uses friction to slow a vehicle and wears braking systems faster.
As the Tesla Motor Company did with the Model 3 sedan it recently announced, Nikola Motors is now accepting refundable reservations: $1,500 for the truck and $750 for the UTV. Along with the truck, the company plans to offer 100,000 gallons of free natural gas to the first 5,000 trucks reserved. The natural gas can be retrieved through a network of compressed natural gas (CNG) stations throughout the U.S.
Combined with the electric motor, 100,000 gallons of natural gas is enough for a million work miles, Nikola said.
The semi-trailer will retail for $375,000.
“The truck is nearly double a diesel price at $375K, but it also comes with free natural gas fuel for 1 million miles since we own our own natural gas wells,” the Nikola Motor Co. spokesperson said. “This offsets the entire cost of the truck allowing for a return on the investment in first month.”
The company also announced plans to release a 520HP 4×4 utility vehicle (UTV) that will boast more than 480 foot pounds of torque with a 125-mile range.
The UTV, dubbed “Nikola Zero,” is a 100% electric powered, zero emission, four-passenger, side-by-side that has 20-in. of suspension clearance on all four wheels and 14.5-in. of overall ground clearance.
The Nikola Zero will retail for $42,000. The first 5,000 vehicle reservations will get a $5,000 discount on the suggested retail price, the company said.