CNHI and Nikola unveil Nikola Tre in the metal

Partners reveal modular path to encompass fuel cells and batteries for Europe

CNHI and Nikola unveil Nikola Tre in the metal
A rendition of the Nikola Tre prototype


The transatlantic alliance driving the Nikola Tre electric truck concept for Europe has let slip the prototype’s covers and revealed a simple strategy aimed to make it work.

The cab-over vehicle, based on the Iveco S-Way heavy-duty truck launched in July, is designed to be both a fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) and a battery electric vehicle (BEV).

In a move that gives it flexibility on power modes that are developing quickly, along with range and regulatory imperatives, the grouping is taking a "modular approach . . . which is unique in the industry".

"Nikola’s fuel cell will be the starting point for the design of the electric battery, so that the Nikola Tre BEV can be converted to fuel-cell technology," it says

"With this approach, the partners are taking the long view, bringing both technologies on stream now to pursue BEV and FCEV in their offering in the next few years.

"This approach enables the partners to launch the Nikola Tre at the IAA 2020 exhibition and Nikola World 2020, delivering the first units to customers in 2021, while the FCEV will be available to customers by 2023."

The Nikola Tre the first vehicle resulting from the joint venture between Nikola Motors and CNH Industrial (CNHI) and its powertrain and commercial vehicles arms, FPT Industrial and Iveco.

The truck integrates Nikola’s advanced electric technology and new-generation proprietary infotainment system.

"FPT Industrial is investing in e-mobility, both on the basis of battery-electric propulsion and hydrogen fuel cells," CNH Industrial president powertrain and FPT Industrial CEO Annalisa Stupenengo says.

"When applying renewable energy sources, e-mobility is the only technology with the potential to be zero-carbon from well-to-wheel and also carbon-neutral from tank-to-wheel.

"Battery-electric vehicles are gaining share in light-duty applications, while hydrogen fuel cells are anticipated to become a reality for heavy-duty applications and long-distance haulage in the near future.

"For this reason, the partnership with Nikola Truck will further reinforce our fuel-cell capability and support our leadership path in this technology."

Read how CNHI and Nikola formed their partnership, here

The prototype Nikola Tre by Iveco 4x2 prime mover is for regional routes, with a range of up to 400km "and dynamic performance equal or better than a diesel equivalent model".

The partners say the vehicle will feature a modular battery system with a total capacity of up to 800 kWh, which can be tailored to match different customers’ missions.

The electric driveline will deliver 480 kW continuous power output with 1,800 Nm peak torque.

The Nikola Tre will also be available in 2- and 3-axle rigid versions, with GCW up to 44 tonnes, for urban distribution and council-services work.

The Nikola Tre will feature a new infotainment system based on Nikola’s proprietary operating system that integrates infotainment and navigation functions, as well as controls for the bulk of the vehicle’s functionalities.

Features include climate control, mirror adjustment, suspension height adjustment, 360-degree camera system, navigation, Bluetooth audio system, comprehensive vehicle settings and admin vehicle diagnostics.

The vehicle leverages Bluetooth low-energy technology to create a secure link between the vehicle and the customer’s mobile device, creating a truly hands-free media experience.

This also enables a smart keyless entry system that unlocks as the driver approaches the vehicle.

The system can even adjust settings such as ride height and climate temperature to driver preference.

CNH Industrial says testing is expected to begin in mid-2020, with the European public launch planned for the IAA September 2020 commercial vehicle exhibition in Hannover, Germany.

Sales and aftersales support of the truck will be through Iveco’s European dealer network.

"The increasing focus on the recognition that there needs to be fundamental reductions in automotive emissions is driving our industry to rapidly seek advanced technological solutions," CNH Industrial CEO Hubertus Mühlhäuser says.

"This joint venture with Nikola is testament to both partners’ technical expertise, which will result in tangible environmental benefits for Europe’s long-distance hauliers."


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