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The Nikola Semi-Truck: Will H2 Beat Electric?

The industry is all abuzz about Tesla's announcement of their new electric semi-truck, but what about the Nikola Motor Company's new hydrogen/electric hybrid? Like the Tesla, the Nikola will have a battery and its capacity will be 240-320 kWh, but instead of having to recharge the battery when stopped, the truck has a fuel cell that recharges the battery, and the fuel cell is fueled with compressed hydrogen.

Currently, Nikola Motor Company has two different models they are planning on releasing, the Nikola One sleeper cab, and the Nikola Two day cab. In order to supply the much need concentrated hydrogen they've partnered with Nel ASA to create 16 fueling stations covering over 2,000 miles, claiming to be (once it's finished) the largest hydrogen network in the world. Also, if for some reason the fuel cell were to fail, the truck should be able to travel 100-200 miles on a fully topped off battery, depending on the load being hauled at the time.

Nikola Motor Company is claiming their new truck will have:

  • up to 2,000 ft-lbs torque
  • up to 1,000 HP
  • up to 500-1K mile range
  • 15 minute refuel time

Some of the additional features of the new hybrid semi include:

  • Surround Vision
  • Faster stopping
  • Lower center of gravity
  • Torque vectoring
  • Large touch screen in the cab
  • Up to 30% more cab space

 Some of the interior features of the Nikola One are:

  • 1-2 full size beds
  • Large 4K TV
  • Full size fridge and freezer
  • Microwave
  • Large closet
  • Computer Desk
  • WiFi and 4GLTE Internet Connectivity
  • Electronic climate control

While both the Tesla and the Nikola seem to be shaking up the industry, only time will tell if either or both companies' vision for the future of the semi-truck industry will survive. Nikola has already begun building its hydrogen fueling stations and is taking pre-orders on trucks they expect to be delivered beginning in 2020.