Ryder Named ‘Exclusive Nationwide Distribution & Maintenance Provider’
For Zero-Emission, 1,000-HP Class 8 Truck Aiming to Revolutionize Industry,
Nikola Plans Leasing and a Vertical Network of Hundreds of Fueling Stations:
Worthington for Cryogenic H2 Transport & Compressed Onboard Fuel Cylinders
Salt Lake City-based Nikola Motor named Ryder System “as its exclusive nationwide distribution and maintenance provider” as it yesterday evening unveiled the zero-emission Class 8 truck with which it hopes to revolutionize the trucking industry.
Nikola is offering customers both a powerful truck and a million miles worth of fuel for it, as well as full maintenance support, via a single 72-month lease package. Nikola said it “has accepted reservations totaling nearly three billion dollars in future orders.” The key promise? In addition to zero emissions, “half the operating cost compared to diesel.”
The concept was initiated as a compressed natural gas-fueled vehicle with a vertically integrated network of CNG fueling stations this past spring (F&F, May 15). Late in the summer, Nikola said it would go with hydrogen instead (F&F, August 30).
Yesterday the firm said it plans to establish a network of 364 hydrogen fueling stations. Construction is to commence in 2018 and the first will open in late 2019.
Liquid Hydrogen, Compressed Hydrogen
Nikola plans to produce hydrogen via renewable technologies like solar-powered electrolysis, and use cryogenic equipment from Worthington Industries to transport liquid product to its fueling station network. Fuel will be dispensed in compressed form to operators’ Nikola trucks, which will be fitted with 5,000-psi hydrogen fuel cylinders, also from Worthington.
Each truck will carry up to 100 kilograms of hydrogen fuel. (Worthington announced a major expansion of its compressed hydrogen fuel cylinder production capability late last year; F&F, December 1, 2015. Late the previous year, Worthington acquired a controlling stake in Salt Lake City-based fabricator of CNG fuel systems named dHybrid; F&F, October 20, 2014. dHybrid was run by Trevor Milton.)
Range Up to 1,200 Miles
“The Nikola One utilizes a fully electric drivetrain powered by high-density lithium batteries,” Nikola says. The 320-kilowatt-hour battery array is charged by a proprietary onboard hydrogen fuel cell affording single-fill range of 800 to 1,200 miles.
The driveline delivers more than 1,000 horsepower and 2,000 foot-pounds of torque, Nikola says: “nearly double that of any semi-truck on the road.
‘This Could Be the Game-Changer’
“Never has a production model Class 8 truck achieved best-in-class fuel efficiency while also dramatically improving performance over its diesel competition – all with zero-emissions.”
“We’ve built something that no one else thought was possible,” Nikola founder, president and CEO Trevor Milton said in a video prepared for the launch event. Nikola trucks, he said, “can outperform a diesel in every application and every situation.”
“This could be the game-changer we’re all looking for,” said U.S. Xpress chairman and CEO Max Fuller. A Nikola One truck in U.S. Xpress livery was the centerpiece of the Nikola launch event. It’s the working vehicle that’s achieved the equivalent of 15 miles per diesel gallon with no emissions, Milton says.
Chattanooga-based U.S. Xpress named Steve Phillips as its new senior VP for over-the-road operations just last month.
‘Key to Expanding Our Advanced Vehicle Technology Portfolio’
“We commend Nikola for its leadership in zero emission vehicles, and for its decision to partner with Ryder as their exclusive nationwide distribution and maintenance provider,” Ryder global fleet management solutions president Dennis Cooke says in the Nikola launch release.
“This relationship is key to expanding our advanced vehicle technology portfolio of innovative solutions,” Cooke said. “Ryder continually monitors emerging fleet technologies and seeks to establish relationships with companies that are leading innovation within the commercial transportation industry.”
Ryder, notes Nikola, has 800 facilities to support the deployment and maintenance of the new trucks.
‘Thousands of New Jobs’
Nikola says it’s negotiating with several states regarding a billion-dollar factory to build the Nikola One, creating “thousands of new jobs,” and will determine the location of the manufacturing facility during the first half of 2017.
The first 5,000 Nikola vehicles, meanwhile, both sleepers and day cabs, are to be produced by Fitzgerald according to Nikola’s design. “We have designed our own chassis from the ground up,” Milton says. “No gliders.”
“Robert Fitzgerald is going to assemble them with a team of 350 employees that currently have experience assembling over 6,000 trucks a year,” Milton told F&F via email.
“All parts will be Nikola. No other chassis brands are included.”
‘This Truck Will Come to Market’
Nikola said too yesterday that Thompson Machinery, a Caterpillar dealer and early Nikola investor, will offer sales and service in Tennessee and Mississippi.
“This truck will come to market,” Milton said in Salt Lake. “I promise you that.”
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Source: Nikola with Fleets & Fuels follow-up