After announcing last month it is building a 2,000 horsepower, hybrid semitrailer, the Nikola Motor Co. revealed this week it has more than 7,000 paid reservations that would translate into $2.3 billion in truck sales when it ships.
Nikola Motor founder and CEO Trevor Milton also announced that the electric class 8 semi-truck, dubbed "Nikola One" will be unveiled Dec. 2 in Salt Lake City. The truck will retail for $375,000, which is nearly double the price for a standard diesel semi-trailer. The company said it will offer a leasing plan that will run from $4,000 to $5,000 per month, depending on the configuration and options a customer chooses.
The Nikola Motor Co. is offering the first 5,000 reservations for the Nikola One 100,000 gallons of free natural gas, which the company said is enough for 1 million miles worth of travel.
The Nikola One semi-trailer will be capable of pulling a gross weight of 80,000 pounds and will have more than a 1,200-mile range between stops, the company said.
"The reason for the horsepower increase is that with electric motors you only use what you need unlike a diesel engine, so most of the time, you will only need 400 to 500 horsepower out of the 2,000 HP," a spokesperson for Nikola Motor Co. said in an email reply to Computerworld. "You don't waste any energy that you don't use with electric motors. But when going up a hill, a diesel is not safe operating at 35 mph or less, so with the extra horsepower, the electric allows you to climb to full speed limit."
The semi-trailer will sport a 320 kilowatt hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery pack, along with a 150-gallon fuel-agnostic turbine, which can be configured to run on various kinds of fuel, including diesel or petroleum. The standard model will have a natural gas tank.
Nikola claims the semi-trailer will cost half as much to operate as traditional diesel trucks. The company also said the truck's lithium-ion battery will never require recharging because the turbine will charge it as the vehicle drives, just like other consumer hybrid vehicles.
The interior of the Nikola One semi-trailer.
The Nikola One will also sport regenerative braking technology, an energy recovery mechanism that will slow the vehicle by converting kinetic energy into a form that can be stored until needed. Regenerative braking is more efficient than traditional braking, which uses friction to slow a vehicle and wears braking systems faster.
Nikola began taking $1,500 refundable reservations for the truck a month ago, offering 100,000 gallons of free natural gas to the first 5,000 trucks reserved. The natural gas can be retrieved through a network of compressed natural gas (CNG) stations throughout the U.S.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.