The startup trying to become the Tesla of trucking is about to reveal its hydrogen-electric semitruck
Nikola Motor Company
Startup Nikola Motor Company will unveil its hydrogen-powered truck, the Nikola One, at its headquarters in Salt Lake City Thursday evening.
Nikola wrote in a press release that the truck will be able to drive 800 miles to 1,200 miles on a single charge. The start-up also said the truck will boast more power than semitrucks currently on the road with over 1,000 hp and 2,000 ft.-lb. of torque. It will have a re-fill time of just 15 minutes.
Nikola said it will also unveil its plan to build a hydrogen fuel station network beginning January 2018 to support the trucks. Nikola will choose where its manufacturing facility for the trucks will be set up in the first half of 2017.
Just like plug-in electric vehicles, hydrogen-powered vehicles also run on electric motors. However, a battery powers the electric motors in electric vehicles like the Tesla Model S. For hydrogen-powered vehicles like the Nikola One, a hydrogen fuel cell generates the electricity that powers its electric motors.
The Nikola One unveiling comes a few months after Nikola changed its tune regarding the type of truck it was building. Nikola first said in May that it was building an electric semitruck with a natural gas turbine as an online generator. In August, the start-up announced it was actually building trucks powered by a hydrogen fuel cell to achieve zero emissions.
Nikola CEO Trevor Milton told Business Insider at the time that the natural gas range extender will only be used in countries outside the US that don't have a hydrogen infrastructure. Milton said that Nikola will only produce the hybrid truck after the hydrogen-powered trucks hit the market.
Nikola Motor Company
Nikola's change in strategy was especially confusing considering the start-up said in June that it had received 7,000 pre-orders for the truck, which at the time was said to be hybrid. Milton told Business Insider in August that the pre-order number was up to 8,000 and that "99% [of the] orders will be for hydrogen only."
Milton said Nikola decided to "filter out and eliminate any orders from other countries" outside the US and Canada so it could focus on the hydrogen-electric truck.
Nikola wrote in its press release Thursday that the start-up has reservations totaling nearly $3 billion.
All that being said, Nikola will show off the hydrogen truck during a livesteamed event Thursday evening at 7 p.m. MST/9 p.m. EST. Nikola said it will also officially announce Ryder System, a truck rental and fleet management supply chain, as its exclusive distribution and maintenance partner at the event.
Nikola is the only start-up with plans for a hydrogen-powered truck, but there are other companies working on zero-emission trucks.
Mercedes-Benz unveiled an electric truck it plans on producing in the next decade in September. Tesla CEO Elon Musk also said Tesla will build an all-electric semitruck in his "Master Plan, Part Deux," published in July.