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Nikola One hydrogen electric 'super truck' prototype unveiled December 1, 2016.
Nikola One hydrogen electric 'super truck' prototype unveiled December 1, 2016.

Nikola One - World's First Hydrogen-Electric Super-Truck

By Bill Moore

EV World talks with Trevor Milton, the driving force behind the Nikola One, the world's first over-the-road zero-emission hydrogen-electric fuel cell semi.

Calling the Nikola One a super-truck is no exaggeration, other than it can't fly… yet! But from a truck driver's perspective, there's not much else it can't do, from it spacious interior to its 4G connectivity, to its 1,200+ miles freight range.

Not long after Trevor Milton, the catalyst behind the groundbreaking project, pulled the cover off the world's first Class 8 hydrogen-electric semi truck, he spoke with EV World publisher Bill Moore, the excitement of classy car show-style reveal on December 1, still evident in his voice.

That event was a good six years in the making, a couple of which involved Milton's traveling the world over to track down the experts in multiple technologies that he'd have to integrate into the zero-emission, over-the-road truck he envisioned building.

"There's a thousand parts in the truck so I had to track down a thousand experts around the world," Milton explained, noting that it took him a couple years of self-education to understand the technology. "There's no one who teaches this stuff."

There's literally tens of thousands of engineering hours in the truck, with more slated. After the December eveal at the company headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, the company is now completely re-engineering the vehicle to get it ready for commercial production and delivery by 2020.

Apart from all the creature comforts that have been designed into this "Big Rig" like the industry's largest refrigerator, a full sized microwave, full-access door, built in table, etc. - all made possible by the elimination of the bulky diesel engine - the Nikola One will offer the longest range of any electric vehicle in the world, Milton asserts.

Carrying 100 kilograms of compressed hydrogen on board to power its 300kW fuel cell and its 320 KWh lithium battery pack, under an 80,000 pound load, the company calculates its range at more than 1200 miles. That's equivalent to 15.4 mpg in conventional ICE-age truck terms, or put another way, from two-to-three times the fuel efficiency of the best diesels on the road. And to make sure truckers don't ran out of "gas", the company will embark in 2017 on a multi-year build out of sow 364 hydrogen filling stations across the United States. Refill time will take only 15 minutes, Milton estimates.

As with many commercial, over-the-road truck operations, the Nikola One will be leased to owner-operators for between $5-7,000/month, depending on trim levels and options. This includes unlimited miles, free hydrogen fill-ups, insurance, etc. Milton thinks they can add an extra $25,000 annually to driver's bottom line, possibly as much as $100,000 depending on the loads.

The entire conversation is just over 20-minutes in length. You can listen to it using the embedded MP3 player below. Or you can download the file for playback on your favorite MP3 device.

Times Article Viewed: 47084
Originally published: 26 Dec 2016

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