Tesla Rival Nikola Motors Unveiled Its First Heavy-Duty Electric Trucks

With hydrogen fuel cell-powered trucks on the way.
Ameya Paleja
The battery-powered electric truck is ready for testing.Nikola Motor

Arizona-based Nikola Motors has completed a significant milestone in its journey to manufacture heavy-duty zero-emission electric vehicles as it delivered its first battery-powered trucks, Tre,  in the U.S., a company press release said. 

Founded in 2015, Nikola wants to revolutionize the economic and environmental impact of commerce by designing and manufacturing heavy-duty electric vehicles and their system components. The company's product portfolio not only includes battery-powered electric trucks but also hydrogen fuel cell-powered, Tre-FCEV along with energy storage systems and hydrogen storage infrastructure, the company added in its press release and is also building a $1 billion plant in Arizona

The company's first deliveries were made as part of its agreement with the port trucking company, Total Transportation Services Inc. (TTSI) to deliver 100 EV trucks to expedite zero-emission transportation at the Long Beach port. According to the press release, up to 14,000 trucks make a call at the port every month releasing roughly 2,600 tons of nitrogen-oxide emissions. 

The trucks, along with two hydrogen fuel trucks to be delivered soon, are part of the pilot being conducted at the TTSI to gauge the performance of these trucks. According to the details provided by Inside EVs, the battery-electric truck has a range of 350 miles (563 km), up from 300 miles that the company had stated previously. The 480 kW (645 hp) electric motor is capable of delivering a top speed of 75 mph (121 kph) while its 753kWh battery can be charged up from 10 to 80 percent within 120 minutes using a DC charger. 

While details of the hydrogen fuel cell trucks are not yet available, the Nikola website states that it comes with a 645 hp motor but can offer a higher range of up to 500 miles (804 km), thanks to its hydrogen fuel cells that can be refueled in 20 minutes or less. 

Even as the battery electric vehicles are rolling off Nikola's production facility in Arizona, the Tre FCEV aimed at regional application is slated for 2023 while the Two FCEV promises an impressive long haul range of 900 miles (1,448 km) is expected in 2024. 

With the Homtruck also expected to be available around the same timeline, Tesla's Semi will have some tough competition, right from the word go. 

Let the EV-truck wars begin! 

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