At least in Europe, Nikola starts with a battery-electric Tre model, which is expected to get a hydrogen fuel cell version later.
Nikola Corporation, in partnership with IVECO truck manufacturer and the FPT Industrial powertrain brand (both are part of CNH Industrial) has unveiled a battery-electric Nikola TRE for the European market, hinted at back in February 2019.
It was actually a maquette (sculpture of sorts), built in just three months since CNH Industrial invested in Nikola, on the IVECO S-WAY heavy-duty truck launched last July.
"The integration of the Nikola design on the IVECO S-WAY has been jointly carried out by Nikola and Italdesign - in its Head Quarters in Moncalieri (Turin). The design integration is a natural consequence of a partnership dating back to 2018 between the two companies, that already output the making of the first maquette of NIKOLA TRE, unveiled in Scottsdale, Arizona, United States, during the NIKOLA World Event in April 2019."
Nikola plans to unveil the prototype at the IAA in 2020 and start sales of the all-electric Tre in 2021. Two years later, in 2023, there will also be a hydrogen fuel cell version Tre, on the same platform.
In other words, BEVs are expected to appear quicker on the market, which does not surprise us at all, as there is no refuelling infrastructure for hydrogen.
More from Nikola:
On the technical side, the Nikola Tre will be equipped with a modular battery system with up to 720 kWh of capacity, which is a lot, but less than the previously hinted 1,000 kWh.
With the biggest battery, the range is expected to be up to 400 km (249 miles), which should be enough for local and mid-range distribution.
Taking into consideration IVECO, the BEV might be a serious product in an emerging electric truck market. At least if the pricing is reasonable.
Here's a quick look at the interior of the Nikola Tre:
New-generation proprietary infotainment and navigation system
The Nikola TRE will feature a new infotainment system based on Nikola’s proprietary operating system that integrates infotainment and navigation functions, as well as controls for the bulk of the vehicle’s functionalities. The system’s features include climate control, mirror adjustment, suspension height adjustment, 360-degree camera system, navigation, Bluetooth audio system, comprehensive vehicle settings and admin vehicle diagnostics.
The vehicle leverages Bluetooth low energy technology to create a secure link between the vehicle and the customer’s mobile device, creating a truly hands-free media experience. This also enables a smart keyless entry system to unlock as the driver approaches the vehicle. The system can even adjust settings such as ride height and climate temperature to driver preference.
Nikola Tre 4x2 specs:
up to 400 km (249 miles) of range of range in an undisclosed test cycle
up to 720 kWh modular battery system
system output of 644 bhp (480 kW) continuous power output and 1,328 lb-ft (1,800 Nm) peak torque
will also be available in 2- and 3-axle rigid versions
GVW ranging from 18 to 26 tonnes for urban distribution and municipality missions
Gerrit Marx, President Commercial and Specialty Vehicles, stated:
“The IVECO S-WAY is a stand-out product, which embodies IVECO’s concept of customer-centricity and has already gained momentum in the markets with well-deserved success. It is the bones of the Nikola TRE and marks the beginning of a new journey towards zero-emissions trucking, providing the platform for us to introduce disruptive features that will change the transport industry.”
The next step of the partnership is a European joint venture:
"The partnership includes the creation of a European joint venture to develop and distribute cab-over hydrogen fuel-cell and battery-electric trucks for the European market. Nikola will provide its class-leading fuel-cell expertise and advanced technologies, as well as its disruptive business model that foresees an industry-first all-inclusive lease rate. IVECO, together with FPT Industrial, will contribute their engineering and manufacturing expertise to industrialise the fuel-cell and battery electric trucks.
IVECO, FPT Industrial and Nikola have started development of the joint-venture’s first truck: the battery electric Nikola TRE, which is based on the new IVECO S-WAY platform and integrates Nikola’s truck technology, controls and infotainment. Testing is expected to begin in mid-2020, with the European public launch planned for the IAA 2020 commercial vehicle exhibition. Sales and aftersales support of the Nikola TRE will be provided by IVECO’s widespread European dealer network."