Nikola Motor Company Debuts “Zero” All-Electric UTV
UTV is Nikola’s first product to see daylight, now what about the Nikola One semi truck?by Mark McNabb, on
The Nikola Motor Company has made big claims over the last several months, the biggest of which is developing a zero-emissions semi truck with a 2,000 horsepower, a 1,200-mile range, and a pre-order list 7,000 customers long. While the world has yet to see the truck, called the Nikola One, in anything other than a computer rendering, the fledgling automaker official debuted its first product in the metal.
It’s the Nikola Zero, an all-electric UTV, and it was revealed at the Sand Sports Super Show in Torrance, California on September 17th. The Zero has a 72-kWh batter that makes up to 520 horsepower and 476 pound-feet of torque and offers a range between 100 and 200 miles, depending on driving styles. Powerful motors reside at each wheel and are said to power the Zero to 60 mph in three seconds. There’s even an optional rear-wheel steering system that gives the Zero better handling in fast corners. The independent wheel motors also allow for torque vectoring.
All the components are said to be waterproof, as well, allowing the UTV to theoretically operate under water. Nikola doesn’t condone using the Zero as a submarine, however. While these stats are impressive, they have yet to be independently tested. Nevertheless, Nikola is currently taking $750 refundable deposits for the Zero, which costs a total of $37,500.
Nikola’s achievement of getting the Zero this point raises questions on whether the company will be able to do the same with its Nikola One semi truck. It was back in May of 2016 that Nikola announced the One, but only three months later, abandoned the idea of full battery power in favor of a hydrogen fuel cell. All this before its December 1, 2016 debut is scheduled. Will Nikola be able to deliver a working prototype before the year is out? Keep reading for more information.
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Why It Matters
Congrats to Nikola for getting its Zero into the eyes of the public. Seeing an actual model brings a certain level of confidence to the start-up company. But the Zero isn’t the topic here. It’s whether Nikola will be able to deliver the One on time with the drastic changes it announced in August regarding the semi-truck’s powertrain.
Originally the One was to be powered by a 320-kWh lithium-ion battery pack supplemented by a proprietary turbine generator making 400 kW of power for recharging the batteries. Despite the turbine running on fossil fuels, Nikola maintained the One would be a zero-emissions vehicle.
Then in August, just two months after the One’s conceptual debut, Nikola drastically changed the truck’s powertrain design. Gone is the turbine, replaced by a hydrogen fuel cell. The company says the truck will feature a “custom-built hydrogen-electric 800-volt fuel cell.” Nikola maintains the truck will still have a 1,200-mile range between fill-ups and will still tow the standard 80,000-pound trailers. It then laid out plans to build a nationwide network of 50 hydrogen stations by 2020.
Nikola is still taking deposits of $1,500 for the Class 8 semi truck and hasn’t released any information canceling or pushing back the One’s December 1 debut. It’ll centrally be interesting to see if Nikola is able to pull off this project. Stay tuned as we follow this topic closely.
Source: Nikola Motor Company