Nikola Motor Co., named after electricity pioneer Nikola Tesla, has announced that it's developing a 2,000-hp, all-wheel-drive, hybrid-electric truck-tractor with a turbine range extender whose operating costs will be one-half that of a diesel tractor.
The company is designing the majority of the components for the vehicle, called Nikola One, and with Meritor has co-designed an independent suspension for use with the truck, said Trevor Milton, the firm’s founder and chief executive officer.
Electricity will go to six 335-hp motors, one at each wheel, developing a total of 2,010 hp and 3,700 lb-ft of torque. The motors will also act as generators to recharge the battery during regenerative braking.
The proprietary turbine, which can be set up to burn many common fuels including diesel, gasoline or natural gas, automatically spins the generator to charge the batteries when needed. The vehicle's range will be 1,200 miles on 150 gallons of fuel.
Nikola One will pull a loaded trailer with a designed gross combination weight of 80,000 pounds up a 6% grade at 65 mph, Milton said. Because its electric motors are geared to the wheels, there's no transmission and the truck will be easy to drive.
The first working prototype will be displayed publicly later this year, he said, and as of Tuesday, the company is taking reservations with $1,500 deposits.
“By working together with some of the top engineering firms in America, we were able to design vehicles that have previously been thought impossible to design,” said Milton. “We want to even the playing field and income inequalities seen between owner-operators and fleets for the first time in recent trucking history.”
Milton formed the company a decade ago to design and manufacture electric vehicles, energy storage systems and electric vehicle drivetrain components. Previously, Milton was CEO of dHybrid Systems, a natural gas storage technology company that was acquired in October 2014 by Worthington Industries.
For more information on the Nikola One, click here.