Nikola Motor Company is Suing Tesla over Alleged Patent Infringement
Nikola Motor Company, a company that unveiled a hydrogen truck concept in 2016, has filed a lawsuit against Tesla in Arizona alleging that Elon Musk’s firm infringes on its patents with the all-electric Semi truck. The lawsuit claims Tesla willfully copied Nikola’s patents in creating its electric truck. The Utah-based company is seeking $2 billion in damages.
2020 Nikola One
Nikola Motors has been in the news lately over its innovative yet seemingly troubled turbine hybrid electric turned hydrogen electric Class 8 semi truck concept. Well, the startup automaker has defied naysayers by actually producing a working prototype and meeting its December 2, 2016 debut deadline. Company founder and CEO Trevor Milton hosted the debut event near downtown Salt Lake City, Utah to a crowd of people from around the globe.
If you recall, the Nikola One was initially designed to be a fully electric truck with a “fuel agnostic” turbine engine acting as a range extender. Only a few months after the Nikola’s announcement of the semi truck in May 2016, the company shifted gears, concentrating on a custom-built hydrogen fuel cell-powered range extender. The change in plans planted seeds of doubt in hopeful onlookers, but Nikola Motors has seemingly made the truck a reality.
The truck is said to be 100-percent zero emissions with an 800 to 1,200-mile cruising range when fully loaded with 65,000 pounds thanks to its 320 kWh battery that generates 2,000 horsepower and 1,000 pound-feet of torque via six electric-drive motors. Nikola Motors is backing its truck with a million miles of free hydrogen fuel. Part of Nikola Motors’ business model is building a network of hydrogen stations. The initial phase has 56 stations planned, with the eventual number growing to 364 across the U.S. and south Canada. Construction is set to begin in January 2018 with an opening date in late 2019. Non-Nikola owners will be able to avail themselves of the hydrogen, but at a cost of $3.50 per kilogram.
The Nikola One is still in the development stage, but production is set to begin in 2019, with units hitting the road in 2020. The truck will be built by a third party manufacturer and will be serviced by Ryder, a current giant in the trucking industry.
CEO Trevor Milton shared a barrage of information at the One’s debut. We’ve compiled the high points in our review below, so keep reading for more. You can also watch the entire 42-minute keynote speech.
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Nikola Motor Company Debuts “Zero” All-Electric UTV
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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Nikola Motors Gives Up on Battery-Powered Semi in Favor of Hydrogen
It was back in May we told you about Nikola Motors and its Nikola One – the battery-powered semi-truck with 2,000 horsepower, six motors, a 1,200-mile cruising range, and a “fuel agnostic” turbine engine set up as a range extender. The startup automaker claimed it already amassed $10.5 million from 7,000 pre-orders despite the fact it hadn’t publicly announced the project.
Well, now Nikola Motors has announced it is ditching the idea of battery and turbine power for a hydrogen fuel cell. Yep, all the hype surrounding the turbine-electric powertrain was for not. Apparently Nikola couldn’t make the system a reality. Now the company is turning to a “custom-built hydrogen-electric 800-volt fuel cell.” And this comes after an announcement earlier this month stating the electric truck would be a zero-emissions vehicle.
The truck is said to retain its 1,200-mile driving range and will achieve “nearly 20 mpg with zero emissions under full load.” It will achieve the goal of zero emissions by producing hydrogen at solar farms, each designed to generate over 100 megawatts of power. A nationwide network of 50 hydrogen stations is slated to be in place by 2020.
“The desire to be 100 percent emission free in the U.S. and Canada is a critical piece of our long-term engineering and environmental efforts, not just in vehicle energy consumption, but also in how energy is produced,” said Nikola Motor Company CEO Trevor Milton.
Milton says Nikola is still on schedule to debut the semi-truck on December 1, 2016 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Pre-orders have now supposedly surpassed $3 billion since Nikola started taking orders in May.
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Nikola Motor Company Says its Semi-Truck Achieves Zero Emissions
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.
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Nikola Motor Company Nikola One
Perhaps now Nikola Tesla has finally realized his posthumous revenge on Thomas Edison. Years after Elon Musk founded Tesla, a new start-up has snagged the scientist’s first name. Nikola Motor Company, like Tesla Motors, is focusing on all-electric propulsion. It recently announced two projects aimed at very different industry segments but both focused on high-performance, high-efficiency vehicles.
The first, the Nikola Zero, is an all-electric ATV slotted to compete against the Polaris RZR. The second is far more practical. The Nikola One is a long-haul semi-truck with a 1,200-mile range and the ability to pull the standard 80,000-pound load. The Nikola One uses electric motors at each of the six wheels, giving it AWD and torque vectoring capabilities. What’s more, the truck features the first fully independent suspension system on a semi, giving it a much smoother ride than conventional semi trucks.
Thanks to the lack of traditional drivetrain components and a cabin formed from carbon fiber, the truck weighs thousands of pounds less, furthering its handling characteristics and battery charge. Recharging is done via a “fuel agnostic” turbine engine that can run on gasoline, diesel, or natural gas.
What’s more, the Nikola One is designed to accept fully autonomous control systems in the future, giving owner/operators the ability to run multiple trucks with one driver watching live video feeds back at headquarters, according to Nikola. The trucks can accomplish this thanks to a system Nikola calls “Virtual Hitch,” which allows the driver to remotely hitch the semi to a trailer, all while sitting in a control station states away.
While this technology is years away from realization, Nikola is striving to lead the way. In fact, the company is already taking orders and deposits for the Nikola One. Reservations only cost $1,500. The company’s website states the truck costs $5,000 a month, including the lease payment with unlimited miles, maintenance, and unlimited fuel from one of its 50+ planned CNG throughout North America.
The plan seems rather daring and ambitious, but hey, Tesla Motors has dared greatly and seemingly succeeded in the face of overwhelming odds. We’ve detailed out the Nikola One below, so continue reading for the full scoop.
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