Nikola Motor Company (NMC), a Utah-based startup, has unveiled its electric-driven class 8 semi-truck, dubbed “Nikola One”, which is capable of pulling a total gross weight of 80,000 pounds and offering more than 1,200 miles between stops.
Nikola One has a 335 horsepower electric motor and a dual gear reduction at every wheel (6×6). Combined, Nikola One outputs over 2,000 horsepower and over 3,700 ft. lbs. of torque before gear reduction and nearly 86,000 ft. lbs. of instant torque after gear reduction.
The truck’s six electric motors produce superior horsepower, torque, acceleration, pulling and stopping power over any class 8 truck on the road. Nikola One incorporates a new proprietary independent suspension system, based on Meritor’s all-wheel drive ProTec High Mobility Independent Suspension product line. As the first Class 8 vehicle to offer a fully independent suspension, drivers will experience premium ride quality and reduced vibration, minimizing driver fatigue.
Most of the Nikola One’s heavy components sit at or below the frame rail, thereby lowering the center of gravity and improving safety. This was partially accomplished by removing the diesel engine and transmission and manufacturing the cab out of lighter, but stronger, carbon fiber panels. Benefits of removing the diesel engine include a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a larger and more aerodynamic cab and a significantly quieter and more comfortable ride. All that is necessary to make the Nikola One go or stop is the electric pedal and brake pedal (no shifting or clutches). The Nikola One’s simplified operation will open up the line haul market to a whole new group of drivers.
The Nikola One’s electric motors are powered by a liquid cooled 320 kWh, lithium-ion battery pack (over 30,000 lithium cells), which is charged by a proprietary onboard Nikola Motor Company turbine. The turbine automatically charges the batteries when needed and eliminates the need to ever “plug-in”. The turbine produces nearly 400 kW of clean energy, which provides ample battery power to allow the Nikola One to climb a six percent grade at maximum weight at 65 mph. A typical class 8 diesel truck under similar conditions would have a hard time reaching 35 mph. And going downhill, the Nikola One’s six electric motors absorb the braking energy normally lost and deliver it back to the batteries, increasing component life, miles per gallon, safety, and freight efficiencies while eliminating noisy engine brakes and reducing the potential for runaway trucks.
When compared to a typical class 8 diesel, the Nikola One’s turbine is much cleaner and more efficient. The turbine is also fuel agnostic, meaning it can run on gasoline, diesel or clean burning natural gas.
NMC has designed a truck with the driver in mind that boasts a 30 percent larger cab, while increasing aerodynamics and reducing the co-efficient of drag by nearly five percent over current trucks on the market. The Nikola One’s cab features a patent-pending sliding midentry door for improved access and driver safety, a full-size fridge and freezer, electric climate controlled cabin, 15” touch screen infotainment display, 10” instrument cluster display, 4G LTE internet and Wi-Fi, over the air software updates, panoramic windshield, sunroof, two full size beds, microwave and 42-inch television.
All of these features will be powered by the 320 kWh battery pack, alleviating the need to idle or run a separate generator. The Nikola One’s cab is by far the most spacious and comfortable cab on the market and its offered amenities are a first for line haul drivers and fleets. The driver could theoretically stay in the cab with all the amenities on for almost a week without draining the batteries enough to initiate the turbine charge.
Nikola Motors expects to begin full production of a $375,000 truck at a facility in Utah within 24 to 36 months.
Nikola Zero Electric UTV
Nikola Motors also unveiled a 520 hp all-electric 4×4 UTV called the Nikola Zero.
Priced at $42,000, the Nikola Zero costs about twice as much as a conventional high performance UTV, but the company says it has already received more deposits than expected and aims to start deliveries within 18 months.
The Nikola Zero has a single 155 hp electric motor at each wheel (4×4), generating 520 horsepower in total, and producing 0-60 acceleration times around three seconds. Jointly engineered with world renowned Pratt & Miller Engineering, the Nikola Zero was designed from the ground up to beat all competitors, in every terrain, all year round.
Most of the Nikola Zero’s components sit at or below the frame rail, thereby lowering the center of gravity and improving anti-roll over capabilities compared to most other UTV’s. This was accomplished by removing the gasoline engine, clutch and emission equipment. Benefits of removing the gasoline drivetrain include: increased suspension travel, better handling, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, quieter ride and no belts or clutches to fail. Once drivers get behind the wheel of the Nikola Zero, the instant power and performance will be like nothing else ever experienced.
The Nikola Zero’s electric motors are powered by a liquid-cooled, 400-volt, 50kWh lithium-ion battery pack (over 4,000 lithium cells). This energy dense battery pack designed in-house gives the Nikola Zero a 100-150 miles range per charge under aggressive riding conditions. The four electric motors absorb the braking energy and deliver it back to the batteries, cutting the braking distance in half while increasing range and safety.
The Nikola Zero can be charged with either a 110V outlet, J1772 standard electric vehicle fast charger or a custom 400V custom generator for rapid charging. The Nikola Zero comes with two 300 watt solar panels on the roof to keep the 360-amp hour 12-volt lithium battery bank topped off, reducing the need to pull energy from the larger 400- volt pack to run the 12-volt components. The large 12-volt bank was created to supply power to the front and rear LED light bars, flood lights, ambient lights, dual 3,500lb. winches, touch screen displays, 110-volt and 12-volt outlets.
The Nikola Zero has the industry’s first ever fly-by-wire rear steering system that allows up to 10 degrees of rear steer at low speeds, up to five degrees of steer under 20 mph and locks into straight position over 20 mph. Rear steering can give up to a 50 percent improvement over current UTV turning radiuses.
Whether rock crawling, trail riding or surface street driving, the rear steering system makes an incredible difference in navigating terrain. With a touch of a button, drivers can disable rear steer or switch to two-wheel drive on the fly at any speed.
Each Nikola Zero comes standard with 4G LTE connectivity and an onboard user interface system. This allows owners to control who drives the Nikola Zero and also how the Nikola Zero is driven. With the Nikola app, drivers can input each person’s profile into the system and create parameters to control speed and travel distance; especially beneficial for younger and newer riders. The Nikola app will also send alerts when the Nikola Zero needs service or an over-the-air software update.[source: Nikola Motor Company]