Nikola, the other automotive company that pays homage to famed inventor Nikola Tesla, just announced plans to team with automotive supplier Bosch to develop next-gen powertrains for two hydrogen-electric semi trucks.
The development partnership aims to produce a line of semis that would blow current trucks off the highway, with double the horsepower of anything currently on the road, while cutting emissions entirely. Rather than depending on batteries alone, like we expect to see when Tesla finally unveils its semi truck next month, Nikola’s design will harness hydrogen fuel cells for an estimated range of up to 1,200 miles.
The class 8 semi trucks, dubbed the Nikola One and Two, are slated to hit the market by 2021. Nikola credits Bosch’s work on its modular eAxle drive system, which was designed to make electrification easier for automakers in smaller vehicles, as a major reason the collaboration will be able to shoot for wide scale production in just four years.
The two companies will work together to make a dual-motor eAxle design for the long-haul trucks, which will place the motor, power electronics, and transmission all onto one unit. Extra juice will come via a new fuel cell system, which is also being developed as part of the partnership, which will depend on hydrogen to push the range of the trucks to that massive 1,200 mile range.
Bosch will also contribute to the development of the trucks’ control software and hardware systems.
Electrification is coming to highways in a big way. Players like Tesla and Daimler have the most name recognition, but other companies like Cummins and Swedish startup Einride hope to make zero emissions trucking a reality within the decade.
Those all-electric cabs all have limited range estimates of a few hundred miles per charge, however, which pale in comparison to Nikola’s massive range. Hybrids, not full-on electric vehicles, might be better solutions for the long haul rigs of the future.