Nikola Motor Company launches 6x6 electric truck

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New truck company unveils on-highway truck with 2,000hp and almost zero emissions in the US


Brand-new US truck manufacturer, the Nikola Motor Company (NMC), has emerged from the shadows to launch a 6x6 electric truck with 2,000hp and a 1,200-mile (1,931km) range.

Named the Nikola One, the near-zero emission vehicle can haul up to 36-tonne thanks to a 335hp electric motor and a dual gear reduction at every wheel.

The company says the truck’s six motors can offer a combined 5,000Nm of torque before gear reduction, and move the 9.5-tonne truck from still to 100km/h in 30 seconds.

The truck also features "a new proprietary independent suspension system, based on Meritor’s all-wheel drive ProTec High Mobility Independent Suspension product line," NMC says in a statement, meaning "drivers will experience premium ride quality and reduced vibration, minimising driver fatigue."

"These benefits to the driver’s precision and comfort are achieved through a tightly controlled suspension geometry, reduced weight of the unsprung components attached to the wheels and air spring dampers with position sensitivity."

Another change from a traditional diesel truck is the position of the chassis, which sits above most of the truck’s heavy components in the Nikola One.

This has been achieved by removing the diesel engine and the transmission, and by manufacturing the cab out of lighter, but stronger, carbon fibre panels.

With no transmission, the vehicle is operated via an acceleration pedal and brake pedal.

In terms of fuel, the electric vehicle has a 320kWh lithium-ion battery pack, with is recharged during operation via a proprietary onboard Nikola Motor Company turbine.

The turbine can run on petrol, diesel, or natural gas. The supply of which needs to be refilled every 1,931km, depending on load and terrain.

"The turbine produces nearly 400kW of clean energy, which provides ample battery power to allow the Nikola One to climb a six percent grade at maximum weight at 65m/h (104km/h)," NMC says.

"And going downhill, the Nikola One’s six electric motors absorb the braking energy normally lost and deliver it back to the batteries… while eliminating noisy engine brakes and reducing the potential for runaway trucks."

Because each wheel has its own individual motor, the Nikola One features torque vectoring.

The feature provides dynamic control on each wheel, so as each wheel’s speed and torque output can be controlled individually cornering, traction, tyre wear, and stopping power can be enhanced.

Inside the cab, which NMC says reducing drag by five per cent over traditional American cabs, the Nikola One offers a full-size fridge and freezer, electric climate controlled cabin, 15-inch touch-screen infotainment display, 10-inch instrument cluster display, 4G LTE internet and Wi-Fi, over the air software updates, panoramic windshield, sunroof, two full size beds, microwave, and 42-inch television.

All amenities are powered by the battery pack, which can keep them all running for almost a week without draining.

Entry into the cab is through the company’s patented "sliding mid-entry door."

Expecting the truck to cost half that of a diesel semi-trailer truck per mile in on-highway use, the US truck maker says it has also included technology to accommodate platooning.

Its Virtual Hitch/Fleet Convoy technology, which is still under development, will offer up to five trucks the option to travel in sync through NMC’s wireless vehicle network and self-driving technology.

With the Nikola One just launching in the US, it is very unlikely it will make an appearance in Australia or New Zealand anytime soon.



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