Nikola Motor Company Says its Semi-Truck Achieves Zero Emissions
Wait, but what about that fuel-burning turbine engine?by Mark McNabb, on
Back in May, we told you about the innovative Nikola One, an electric semi-truck built by Nikola Motor Company that uses six electric motors powered by a 320-kWh lithium-ion battery back that’s recharged by a 400-kW turbine generator. The truck is designed using extensive carbon fiber and is supposed to offer autonomous driving capabilities over its 1,000-mile range, all while saving its operator on fuel, maintenance, and downtime costs. Sounds great, right?
Well now Nikola is claiming its semi-truck achieves zero emissions.
“Nikola has engineered the holy grail of the trucking industry,” says Nikola Founder and CEO Trevor Milton. “We are not aware of any zero emission truck in the world that can haul 80,000 pounds more than 1,000 miles and do it without stopping. The Nikola One requires only 15 minutes of downtime before heading out for the next 1,000 miles.”
However, neither Milton nor Nikola’s latest press release identified exactly how the company can achieve claim of zero emissions. Milton is quote in the release as saying:
“It requires a specific zero emission refinement process of fuel and gutsy engineering and product execution. A traditional manufacturer would have to partner with an oil company, environmental group, electric vehicle engineering firm, a broad spectrum of suppliers and a world-class consulting firm to have figured it out. At Nikola, all of our development and talent is under one roof.”
And that’s it. There’s no explanation as to how the truck achieves zero emission, despite having a massive turbine generator onboard that’s said to be “fuel agnostic,” meaning it can run on anything from compressed natural gas to diesel. Last time we checked, burning any fuel generates some level of emissions.
Despite the lack of clarity or explanation, Nikola is supposed to debut the Nikola One semi-truck on December 2, 2016. It will certainly be interesting to watch this unfold.
Continue reading for more details.
Why It Matters
Perhaps Nikola Motor Company is playing its cards close, but the idea of a semi truck that’s able to haul 80,000 pounds over 1,000 miles without stopping while producing zero emissions seems a bit far-fetched. Perhaps the truck’s battery pack can somehow offer 1,000 miles of all-electric driving range.
Perhaps Nikola has developed a way to recharged the batteries using rolling resistance or some perpetual motion machine. Perhaps the turbine’s exhaust system traps 100 percent of tailpipe emissions before it enters the atmosphere. Perhaps it’s all a lie.
Until we see the Nikola One semi-truck in the metal, fully running with 80,000 pounds hitched to its fifth-wheel, and zero emissions coming from its tailpipe, call us skeptical. The company’s initial debut of concept seemed promising – far-fetched, but still promising.
The claims of a battery-powered semi were only made logical when allowing for the fuel-powered turbine to run and replenish energy back into the battery packs. So how do the battery packs last over 1,000 miles while pulling a fully loaded, 42-foot trailer? Your guess is as good as ours.
Be sure to check out the full press release below.
(And a hat-tip to Jalopnik for breaking the story)
Source: Nikola Motor Company