Startup company Nikola has made a significant change to its upcoming One electric semi truck, switching to a hydrogen fuel cell just months before its expected December launch.
Originally the Nikola One was meant to use a 400kW turbine fuelled by compressed natural gas to power the truck’s electric motors, however the company is now advertising that the new semi will use a hydrogen fuel cell.
The change is part of the company’s new plan to develop a freight network that is free of emissions, right down to the vehicle’s source of energy.
Powering the Nikola One will be a custom-built hydrogen-electric 800V fuel cell, which the company claims will make the class 8 trucks more powerful than any other production diesel semis on the road.
Claimed fuel consumption is nearly 20 miles per gallon (11.8L/100km), meaning the Nikola One will be theoretically as fuel efficient as a normal petrol-powered car.
Trevor Milton, CEO of Nikola Motor Company, said: “The desire is to be 100 per cent emission free in the US and Canada is a critical piece of our long-term engineering and environmental efforts, not just in vehicle energy consumption, but also in how energy is produced”.
The company plans to produce hydrogen via zero-emission solar farms, which will produce over 100 megawatts each and use electrolysis to create hydrogen from water.
“Even our manufacturing facilities will be run off of zero-emission hydrogen anyway,” Milton said.
The Nikola One will be unveiled in Salt Lake City on 1 December. According to the company, it has received over US$3 billion ($4 billion) in pre-orders since order books opened in May.
Stay tuned for an update closer to the Nikola One’s launch in December.
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