Nikola One: An Electric Semitrailer Offering Spectacular Performance

The U. S. transport sector is counting down to the launch of a very special truck. All eyes are on the Nikola One, an electric semitrailer offering spectacular performance.

All eyes are on the Nikola One, an electic semitrailer offering spectacular performance. Photo: Getty Images, BMW, Nikola, Thomas Kueppers

Nikola wants to use solar power and electrolysis to generate electricity and hydrogen. Photo: Getty Images, BMW, Nikola, Thomas Kueppers

The onward march of electric drive systems is not just a theme of the passenger vehicle market. The Nikola Motor Company from Salt Lake City, Utah, is the perfect example of this. The impending launch of its fuel-cell powered semitrailer is sure to shake things up on the North American transport market. Initially unveiled in December 2016, the Nikola One – whose name pays homage to physicist and inventor Nikola Tesla – has been built from the ground up as a thoroughbred electric vehicle. The numbers alone make classic diesel trucks seem old-hat, with over 1,000 HP of system power and 2,700 newton meters of torque. The proclaimed range of 1,900 kilometers is, however, only attainable with a range extender. This consists of a fuel-cell power plant situated behind the driver’s cab. The plant harnesses the chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen to generate energy for the 320 kWh Lithium-ion batteries. If fuel runs out, the driver must refill the tanks at one of the circa 370 hydrogen fuel stations around the USA and Canada that Nikola Motor intends to establish. The firm has already received around 8,000 pre-orders for the revolutionary semitrailer. Prototype testing in corporate fleets is due to commence at the end of 2018, and the first 5,000 units are set to leave the workshop from October 2020.

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