Range-Extended Class 8 Vehicles with CNG Fuel Included,
Maintenance Too, All for $5,000 Per Month for a Million Miles
Utah-based start-up Nikola Motor has developed a range-extended electric drive truck on offer via an all-inclusive lease for $5,000 per month, with unlimited compressed natural gas fuel included. Nikola has designed the truck – nominally priced at $275,000 – from the ground up and will develop its own network of CNG fueling stations as well, says founder and CEO Trevor Milton.
Key to the plan is a proprietary turbine with efficiency of 40%, the company says, designed to charge the vehicle’s 32,000-cell, non-conductive liquid-cooled 320-kilowatt-hour lithium battery pack with no plugging in. The truck boasts a “Tesla-like” driveline design with six motors delivering torque-vectored power to all six tractor wheels.
It all adds up to the 2,000-horsepower “Nikola One,” with oversized twin-sleeper cab packed with driver amenities, and a single-fill range of more than 1,200 miles. The vehicle is to have onboard storage for 150 diesel gallon equivalents of CNG in lightweight Type III or Type IV cylinders.
LCNG Said Cheaper
The fuel system assemblies will likely be provided by Worthington (which acquired the former dHybrid, which was headed by Milton, last year; F&F, October 14, 2014).
Nikola is the first new truck OEM in decades, Milton says, and the first to be 100% vertically integrated. “We’re designing this whole thing from the ground up ourselves,” he says, acknowledging Meritor as a development partner for the vehicle’s proprietary independent suspension – itself said to be a first in the Class 8 sector.
$2,500 Per Month Savings Projected
“We want to even the playing field and income inequalities seen between owner operators and fleets for the first time in recent trucking history,” Milton said in a release. “This is just the beginning of what’s ahead for America, our company and the electric vehicle market.”
Assuming a diesel price of $2.50 per gallon and 12¢ per mile for maintenance, an operator now paying $3,000 per month and logging 8,000 monthly miles on a conventional truck lease would save more than $2,500 per month with the Nikola One, Milton says.
As with the new truck, vertical integration is key to the company’s fueling plans: a initial network of 20 CNG stations using LCNG/liquefied-to-compressed-natural-gas equipment to dispense CNG with no need for energy-eating compressors. Natural gas will be liquefied for at the wellhead using onsite field gas to drive the refrigeration equipment, Milton says – and transported via a new Nikola One-towed LNG trailer fleet.
‘We Take Care of Everything’
For Nikola one operators, “There is no fluctuation in fuel costs,” he says. “We take care of everything,” Milton told F&F. And, “every million miles they’re going to get a new truck.”
Nikola is taking Nikola One truck reservations for a refundable deposit of $1,500.
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Source: Nikola Motor Company with Fleets & Fuels follow-up