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Nikola Plans Electric Road Tractor for Europe

Heavy Duty Trucking (HDT)  /  November 5, 2018

Nikola Motor Company announced it is developing the Nikola Tre, a fully electric hydrogen-powered day cab tractor aimed at markets in Europe.

The Tre (“tre” is Norwegian for “three”) was designed “in response to widespread interest from European customers,” but the truck maker noted that this high-cabover model will also be made available in Asia and Australia.

“This truck is a real stunner and long overdue for Europe,” said Nikola Motor Company CEO Trevor Milton.  “It will be the first European zero-emission commercial truck to be delivered with redundant braking, redundant steering, redundant 800Vdc 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 U.S.A version in 2022-2023,” he added.

According to the company, the Nikola Tre will offer 500 to 1,000 hp, a 6x4 or 6x2 configuration, and a range of 500 to 1,200 kilometers, depending on options. The Tre will fit within current size and length restrictions for Europe.

European testing is projected to begin in Norway around 2020. Nikola also said it is in the preliminary planning stages to identify the “proper” location for its European manufacturing facility.

The company said attendees of its Nikola World event, to be held April 16 to 17 in Phoenix, will get to view a prototype display of the Nikola Tre, along with other new zero-emission products from Nikola, “including the production intent Nikola Two.” And just as with the already introduced North American-oriented Nikola One sleeper and Nikola Two day cab tractors, order reservations can be made online for the Nikola Tre.

In addition, Nikola said it is currently working with Nel Hydrogen of Oslo to provide hydrogen stations for the United States market.  “Nel has been good to work with for our U.S.A. station design and rollout, said Kim Brady, Nikola Motor Company CFO.

“We will work with Nel to secure resources for our European growth strategy,” Brady added. “We have a lot of work ahead of us, but with the right partners, we can accomplish it.”

By 2028, Nikola said it is planning on having more than 700 hydrogen stations across the U.S. and Canada.  The company said each station will be capable of 2,000 to 8,000 kgs of daily hydrogen production. Nikola’s European stations are planned to come online around 2022 and are projected to cover most of the European market by 2030.

Registration for next spring’s Nikola World event in Phoenix will open on December 3 at www.nikolamotor.com.  

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Nikola to Expand Into Europe With Hydrogen-Electric “Tre”

Transport Topics  /  November 5, 2018

“Tre” Slated for Production in 2022 to 2023; Will Be Previewed in April in Phoenix

Nikola Motor Co. announced it would begin production within five years in Europe of a heavy-duty, hydrogen-electric truck designed to be compatible with full autonomy as it expands its business beyond North America.

The Phoenix-based company has begun taking reservations for the vehicle — to be called the Tre, which is Norwegian for three. Tre is slated for production in 2022 to 2023. Nikola will preview the truck April 16-17 in Phoenix alongside its Nikola Two model, which is scheduled for fleet tests in 2019.

Tre will be the first European zero-emissions commercial truck to be delivered with redundant braking, redundant steering, redundant 800V DC batteries and a redundant 120 kilowatt hydrogen fuel cell — “all necessary for true Level 5 autonomy,” Nikola founder and CEO Trevor Milton said in a statement.

“Redundant means the truck has been designed from the ground up to allow for failure in any one of the systems and still operate safely,” Milton told Transport Topics. “This is especially important with autonomy compatibility.”

Level 5 typically is defined as full automation capable of handling any road with no driver needed — or as Milton said, “No driver. Completely autonomous-compatible.”

He added: “For instance, the power steering could go out, and the truck would be able to pull itself over, steer itself to the side of the road and safely exit the freeway. It is the only truck ever built that we know of that has the ability to have any one of the main systems or subsystems fail and still continue safely until it can pull over and be serviced,” he said.

Model Two will feature the same level of redundancy, according to the company.

The Tre will come with 500 to 1,000 horsepower, 6×4 or 6×2 configurations and a range of 500 to 1,200 kilometers (310 to 745 miles) depending on options. The Tre will fit within the current size and length restrictions for Europe.

European testing is projected to begin in Norway around 2020. Nikola also is in the preliminary planning stages to identify the proper location for its European manufacturing facility, according to the company.

Nikola is working with Oslo, Norway-based Nel Hydrogen to provide hydrogen stations in the United States.

“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,” Nikola Chief Financial Officer Kim Brady said.

By 2028, Nikola plans to have more than 700 hydrogen stations across the United States and Canada. Each station is capable of 2,000 to 8,000 kilograms of daily hydrogen production. Nikola’s European stations are planned to come online around 2022 and projected to cover most of the European market by 2030.

Meanwhile, at the Nikola World event in Phoenix, attendees will witness the Nikola Two model pulling loaded trailers, along with a prototype display of the Nikola Tre. Hydrogen filling also will be shown at the event at 700 bar or 10,000 pounds per square inch.

Nikola’s power sports division will provide customer rides throughout the day and show off pre-production units of the Nikola Nzt off-road 4×4.

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Nikola claims US$12 billion in hydrogen truck pre-orders

Truck News  /  November 15, 2018

PHOENIX, Arizona – Hydrogen truck maker Nikola says it has raised another US$210 million and now boasts US$12 billion in pre-orders.

About $380 million of those were for the recently announced Nikola Tre European cabover.

“Once the Nikola Tre arrives in Europe, diesel will finally be on its way out,” said CEO Trevor Milton.

“Now that we are funded and oversubscribed, we are kicking it into high gear and preparing for Nikola World 2019. At Nikola World, you will see the USA Nikola Two prototype in action and be able to step foot in our European Nikola Tre. We also have a few surprises for the show from our powersports division and other new product announcements.”

The company says it will have hydrogen coverage in the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia by 2028.

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Who buys a vehicle that runs in fuel that no one has and there is no infrastructure to support it? Is Nikola stretching the truth a bit to give consumers the idea that everybody is buying one?

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Nikola Moves Closer to Marketing Hydrogen-Electric Trucks

Roger Gilroy, Transport Topics  /  January 16, 2019

LAS VEGAS — Nikola Motor Co. founder and CEO Trevor Milton said two key customers — private fleet Anheuser-Busch Cos. and truckload carrier U.S. Xpress Enterprises — will begin fleet tests of Nikola’s zero-emisssions hydrogen-electric Class 8 trucks by the end of the year, as the first shoots of the necessary fueling infrastructure are emerging in Phoenix.

Milton spoke with Transport Topics in an exclusive interview here Jan. 8 during CES, the world’s largest technology event.

“I wanted to redesign everything from the ground up. I can’t do that if I keep a lot of the same stuff that is on trucks right now,” Milton said. “We are just lucky that we started a long time ago so we are ahead of everyone. We developed our own fuel cell, our own batteries — they are more energy dense than any other battery on the market in the world.”

Nikola’s battery is almost 400 watt-hours per liter, he said, calling that 50% to 70% more energy dense than rival batteries.

Its 240-kilowatt fuel cell is the biggest he knows of, and there are two on board his Class 8 trucks.

Andrew Lund, chief engineer in the product development office at Toyota Motor North America Inc., told TT he wished Nikola well.

“They are a very interesting company. Certainly they are going to produce heavy-duty trucks. So in one way they are competitors. But I view them as more of a partner in, really, growing hydrogen infrastructure. Their announced plan is to build hydrogen stations across North America. I would want them to be successful because that would bring about the hydrogen society that Toyota has believed in for so many years.”

Milton said his company plans to build 700 hydrogen fueling stations in the United States over the next seven years.

The first 14 stations will be up and running by 2021, according to the company, which is based in Phoenix, where two stations are being built and each of which will produce more than 1,000 kilograms of hydrogen.

“Then we go to stations that produce 24,000 kilograms a day. We focus mainly on dominating the hydrogen-production side, and the truck is a catalyst to drive the cost of the hydrogen down. Our hope is we can share stations with Daimler or others that are interested, like Hyundai,” Milton said.

In September, Hyundai Motor Co., in cooperation with H2 Energy, will provide 1,000 hydrogen-electric heavy-duty electric trucks to the Swiss commercial vehicle market, to be delivered beginning this year through 2023. News reports said the South Korean truck maker could bring its hydrogen trucks to the United States.

A day-cab version of the Nikola truck for North America plus its flat-face, heavy-duty truck intended for the European market will be on display April 16-17 in Phoenix during an event the company calls Nikola World.

“That’s when the whole world gets to see the production truck, a beautiful, stunning truck,” Milton said. “So what we have done now is proven out that the truck works, the components function together, the aerodynamics of the truck work. The cab, the body, all that’s done. That’s the hardest part. It took five years to do, to actually make all the systems fully function together.”

As of early January, 2,500 people had reserved to attend the event, he said.

At the same time, Milton said he is looking forward to competing against the North American arm of Daimler Trucks, the world’s largest truck maker.

Daimler Trucks North America is the leader in Class 8 U.S. retail sales.

“They have their own fuel cell, although they have tens of billions of dollars invested in diesel so they can’t scrap it. They have to transition out of [diesel] over 10 years. They will be right there alongside of us,” Milton said. “Once we do it and prove it, and they see the model working, Daimler will come right in. But there is enough room. I actually welcome it. When Daimler comes in, the world takes notice and they know it’s legit.”

Kenworth Truck Co., a unit of Paccar Inc., and Toyota announced at CES they are collaborating to develop 10 hydrogen-electric tractors for drayage operations in the Los Angeles basin — with Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell technology going into Kenworth’s T680 trucks.

Milton referred to the effort as “research and development.”

Nikola has about 11,000 orders for its truck.

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Nikola Teases New All-Electric Truck Models

Jack Roberts, Heavy Duty Trucking (HDT)  /  February 11, 2019

Nikola Motors exploded onto the scene three years ago, initially promising an all-electric, long-haul, tractor. Almost immediately, that mission statement was amended, detailing a hybrid hydrogen-battery electric drive system, which Nikola said would give its truck 1,000 miles of range between refueling stops.

But it appears the company never gave up on its initial, proposed, all-electric truck. In a surprise tweet late last week, the company announced that at its Nikola World technology showcase in April it will announce short-haul, battery-electric versions of the Nikola Two and Nikola Tre in addition to the hydrogen-electric model.

Nikola said the all-electric truck is designed for inner city delivery routes and weight-sensitive applications. However, the company stressed that it is not phasing out hydrogen drivetrains. Indeed, Nikola said it is expecting to see 50 times the number of orders for hydrogen drivetrains over electric ones – but noted that in some applications, battery-electric trucks “work great.”

Details are sketchy – Twitter being what it is – but Nikola did give away some additional information on the news in a series of additional Tweets. Both trucks will be offered in 500kWh, 750kWh and 1mWh versions. And there will be an option to spec Nikola’s hydrogen-electric drivetrain instead of a battery-electric one.

H2 is 5,000 lbs lighter than BEV and is cheaper for long haul applications even with H2 costs. BEV is for inner cities and non weight sensitive applications. Nikola is not phasing our hydrogen at all, we will see 50:1 more hydrogen orders but some applications BEV works great.

— Nikola Motor Company (@nikolamotor) February 8, 2019

Looking specifically at the Nikola Two model, the company tweeted that it will be an 80,000 lbs. vehicle that uses 2.25 kWh per mile in most applications. The 1 MWh model has a range of 400 miles, which falls to 300 miles in cold weather, the company said.

1) BEV @ 80,000 lbs. uses ~ 2.25 kWh per mile in real weather and normal hills on routes. 1MWh gets about 400 miles. Only 90% battery is useable. In cold weather, you get 300 miles / 1Mwh. Takes 69,000 "21700" cells @ 68grams = 1MWh. 10.5k weight in cells. 20k truck weight

— Nikola Motor Company (@nikolamotor) February 8, 2019

2) Fuel cell 80 kg H2 gets 7-10 miles per kg and uses same 2.25 kWh per mile as BEV. Fuel cell weight 15k -17k so about 3k – 5k pounds less than BEV. Fuel Cell can't be beat long haul and BEV is good option for short haul. World needs both. ICE is enemy, not hydrogen or BEV

— Nikola Motor Company (@nikolamotor) February 8, 2019

The Nikola Tre previously was announced as a fully electric hydrogen-powered day cab tractor aimed at markets in Europe.

Nikola unveiled its first hydrogen-electric prototype, the Nikola One, in December 2016.

The official word debut for the Nikola Two and Nikola Tre is stated for the Nikola World technology fair in Scottsdale, Arizona, April 16 and 17, 2019.

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