Three months after Iveco owner CNH Industrial joined the US-based Nikola electric truck startup, the partners have now started developing their first joint product: the Nikola Tre all-battery electric truck for the European market.
Nikola will present the heavy-duty electric truck based on the Iveco S-Way truck at the IAA 2020 in Hannover. Delivery of the first Nikola Tre units to customers is planned for 2021. A fuel cell truck is to follow in 2023. According to Nikola Motors, the battery-electric model is “the first step on the way to the electric fuel cell model”.
The Iveco S-Way was first presented in Madrid in July 2018. As part of the cooperation – which incidentally includes CNH Industrial’s two commercial vehicles and drive brands Iveco and FPT Industrial – it will take over Nikola’s electrical technology and infotainment system. The semi will also be given a design jointly developed by Nikola and Italdesign. According to the partners, the first tests are scheduled to start as early as mid-2020. The sales and after-sales services planned for 2021 were provided via Iveco’s extensive European dealer network.
The Nikola Tre was presented in the USA in April 2019 without mention of the vehicle’s technical data. Now the US American zero-emissions truck-makers have revealed that the electric semi weighs between 18 and 26 tons and is suitable for urban use. The design of the electric semi-trailer has now also been published: a Nikola Tre 4×2 tractor should support a range of up to 400 km. A modular battery system with a total capacity of up to 720 kWh will be on board, which can be tailored to customer requirements, says Nikola. The electric drive train will deliver 480 kW continuous power and up to 1,800 Nm. The partners also reveal that they are pursuing a modular approach in the development of the heavy-duty truck. In other words, the Nikola Tre will be designed in such a way that it can be converted to fuel cell technology.
In September, CNH Industrial joined Nikola with 250 million dollars as part of a new financing round. FPT and Iveco had previously opted more for natural gas as an alternative fuel and, according to their statements, “made a significant contribution to the development and expansion of the European natural gas tank network”. In the medium term, Nikola intends to implement similar measures with partners in North America and Europe, but of course with hydrogen.
Almost three years ago, Nikola Motor caused a sensation with the announcement of its innovative Nikola One fuel cell truck. The interest was high from the beginning, later also H2 trucks for Europe were announced. Apart from prototypes, however, Nikola has had little to see so far.
CNH Industrial was created in 2013 by the merger of CNH Global and Fiat Industrial as part of the restructuring of the Fiat Group – more or less parallel to the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in the automotive sector. CNH Industrial’s commercial vehicle brands also include Iveco Bus, Steyr, New Holland, Hueliez Bus and Magirus.
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