Future of big rigs? Nikola unveils long-range hydrogen fuel cell truck
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Utah-based Nikola Motor Company has unveiled a hydrogen fuel cell semi truck designed specifically for Europe, a move described by company founder Trevor Milton as “long overdue”.
The Nikola Tre is an articulated truck unit with between 500 and 1,000bhp and a range of between 500 and 1,200 kilometres, depending on options and specification. Several axle configurations will be available, and the designs correspond with European HGV categories. It resembles the conventional cab-over design
Testing is expected to commence in 2020 with production scheduled for 2022 or 2023. Similar products include Hyundai's planned hydrogen fuel cell artic, as well as other FCEV and battery-electric models from smaller manufacturers.
“It will be the first European zero-emission commercial truck to be delivered with redundant braking, redundant steering, redundant 800Vdc batteries and a redundant 120 kW hydrogen fuel cell, all necessary for true level 5 autonomy,” said Milton.
Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles convert stored hydrogen into electricity using an on-board fuel cell. The only ‘exhaust’ product is clean, drinkable water, and refuelling takes a few minutes – comparable with existing diesel trucks. This is a key advantage over battery-electric vehicles, which can take hours to attain similar levels of charge, though hydrogen infrastructure is still in its infancy in Britain and parts of Europe.
Hydrogen itself can be generated through electrolysis, which can in theory be powered with green, renewable energy. Nikola’s first European hydrogen recharging stations are scheduled to open in 2022, with Europe-wide coverage anticipated by 2030.
“We will work with [Norwegian electrolyser company] Nel to secure resources for our European growth strategy,” said Kim Brady, Nikola Motor Company CFO. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but with the right partners, we can accomplish it.”
- Telegraph UK