Wait, but what about that fuel-burning turbine engine?

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

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Press Release

Nikola One Truck Achieves Zero Emissions

Working electric truck prototype to be unveiled on December 2 in Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY. August 1, 2016— Nikola (pronounced Neek-oh-la) Motor Company’s advanced

R&D team has achieved 100% zero emissions on the Nikola One commercial class 8 truck.

"While other companies have recently announced battery-powered semi-trucks, those trucks are restricted to a range of only a couple hundred miles and four to eight hours of charging between stops,” said Founder and CEO Trevor Milton. “Nikola has engineered the holy grail of the trucking industry. 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.”

“Imagine what this could do for the air in every city in America. We knew our emissions would be low, but to have the ability to achieve true zero emissions is revolutionary for the worldwide trucking industry,” Milton added.

When asked why no one had accomplished this before, Milton said, “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,” said Milton.

In addition to the zero emission semi-truck, Nikola has initiated the first steps to manufacture emission-free power plants that range from 50 kilowatts to 50 megawatts, cutting power generation costs in half. Nikola believes this technology not only has the ability to transform America’s roadways, but how the world will migrate towards zero-emission energy going forward.

Two months ago, Nikola announced more than $2.3 billion in reservations, totaling more than 7,000 truck reservations with deposits.

The Nikola One truck leasing program costs $4000 to $5000 per month, depending on which truck configuration and options the customer chooses. The first million miles of fuel under the lease is included with each truck sale, potentially offsetting 100% of the monthly cost. An average diesel burns approximately $400,000 in fuel and can rack up over $100,000 in maintenance costs over 1,000,000 miles. These costs are eliminated with the Nikola One lease. Now companies can have a zero emission truck with a return on their investment in the first month.

For complete product details on the Nikola One, visit www.nikolamotor.com.

December 2, 2016 Event

Working media representatives will receive invitations to the launch event from Robar PR, crobar@robarpr.com, no later than August 8.

About Nikola Motor Company
Nikola Motor Company designs and manufactures electric vehicles, vehicle components, energy storage systems, and electric vehicle drivetrains. NMC is led by its visionary CEO Trevor Milton (twitter: @nikolatrevor), who has assembled one of the most talented teams in the country to bring the Nikola products to market. The company is privately-held. For more information, visit nikolamotor.com or Twitter: @nikolamotor.

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