CNG/electric hybrid semi prototype coming in December

Click to enlarge2000 horsepower BTW

It’s long been assumed that while passenger vehicles may well start to transition to electric drive over the next decade or two, heavy commercial trucks won’t.

The energy density of liquid hydrocarbon fuel is particularly well suited to moving vehicles that can weigh 10 times the 2-ton weight of a passenger car.

But a handful of companies are forging ahead with electric and series-hybrid trucks anyhow, one of them being Nikola Motor Company.

In May, Nikola unveiled its design for a natural gas- and electric-powered Class 8 commercial semi truck to be called the Nikola One.

The company, which had operated in stealth mode before April, now claims it has achieved “100 percent zero emissions” on its prototype, without providing specific test details.

Founder and CEO Trevor Milton said…that Nikola had achieved “the Holy Grail” of the trucking industry: “a zero-emission truck … that can haul 80,000 pounds more than 1,000 miles … without stopping.”

After that, he said, “the Nikola One requires only 15 minutes of downtime before heading out for the next 1,000 miles,” presumably for refueling.

The company, named after famed electrical engineer Nikola Tesla, plans to unveil a running prototype of its truck in Salt Lake City, Utah, on December 2.

The Nikola One is fueled with natural gas, though the turbine it uses to generate electricity can run on a variety of fuels.

There’s a portion of the trucking industry that operates as if the Republican Party will take care of their emissions pollution as smoothly as they protect NRA butt. Ain’t about to happen. No constitutional amendments at hand to be abused by agitprop pundits and preachers. Sooner or later, the over-the-road trucking industry will be pushed into serious upgrades.

Looking forward to seeing what this critter can do. There are several basics about energy transmission in the article that warm the cockles of this one-time traffic manager’s heart. They say they have pre-orders for 7,000 haulers!

UPDATED because the Founder has been indicted

Prosecutors alleged Trevor Milton repeatedly claimed he had developed working prototypes of his Nikola trucks, but that no such vehicle ever existed.

9 thoughts on “CNG/electric hybrid semi prototype coming in December

  1. Ryan Vande Water says:

    “100% Zero Emissions” of course leaves me skeptical… they are burning a HC fuel, after all! Still, the idea has promise. There are a plethora of tough nuts to crack with this solution. Reliable turbine, reliable battery, reliable electric motors, available and competent service technicians will be a huge problem in an industry where downtime is $$$.

    Will be interesting to see how they deal with off-nominal operation in high/low ambient temps and low ambient pressures.

    All of these are solvable problems… my SWAG is that this is still 10-15 years away from being anything more than a novelty.

    Can’t wait to drive one!

    • eideard says:

      Agree with all. My bet on “zero emission” is semantic loophole! :-] Still, I love the emotors driving wheels. Don’t need RR tracks to make ’em work.

      • Ryan Vande Water says:

        You mean HD truck engines? I cut my teeth in Heavy Duty (11-15L) then went to Midrange(6-10L) then went to China. When I came back, I spent a year working on the engine for the Nissan Titan. Now I don’t work on engines, but I develop system simulations of engines. (the 6.7L Chrysler engine, for now.)

        • eideard says:

          BTW, stayed in touch w/yr travels – just not always yr tech tasks. I think I still see your kisser on “Foreigner Dreams” or some such on CCTV, once in a while. 🙂

  2. Rubber Duck says:

    “New Federal Rules Require 25% Reduction in Carbon Emissions from Heavy-Duty Trucks” “Administration officials said the new rules would cut 1.1 billion metric tons of carbon emissions through 2027 and represent a global benchmark for reducing vehicle-exhaust pollutants linked to climate change. The carbon-reduction target is 10% more than when the rules were proposed last year. The trucking industry will save $170 billion in fuel costs through 2027 and reduce petroleum consumption by 2 billion barrels. “We are way out ahead of any other country,” said EPA chief Gina McCarthy.”

  3. Potemkin EV says:

    “EV startup Nikola’s founder charged with misleading investors : In a 66-page complaint, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission laid out its case against Trevor Milton, 39, who led electric vehicle maker Nikola Corp until he stepped down in 2020.”
    Nikola electric-truck prototypes were powered by hidden wall sockets, towed into position and rolled down hills, prosecutors say : allege prototypes didn’t function and were Frankenstein monsters cobbled together from parts from other vehicles

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