Nikola and Bosch partner on hydrogen-electric Class 8 truck

Nikola unveils Class 8 hydrogen-electric truck

Nikola Motor Company is partnering with Bosch on the development of its hydrogen fuel cell range-extended electric Class 8 long-haul truck, which was unveiled as a prototype last December.

By 2021, the company intends to bring the Nikola One and Two to market, each of which will deliver more than 1,000 horsepower and 2,000 lb-ft (2,712 N·m) of torque – nearly double the horsepower of any semi-truck on the road – with zero tailpipe emissions.

At the heart of Nikola’s truck lineup is a new commercial vehicle powertrain developed in partnership with Bosch. Bosch’s eAxle is a scalable, modular platform with the motor, power electronics and transmission in one compact unit.

The eAxles will use proven commercial vehicle electric machine technology and SMG (separate motor generator) motors from Bosch, and will be paired with a custom-designed fuel cell system. The vehicle controls will be jointly developed based upon Bosch’s vehicle control software and hardware.

“Bosch is an incubator of electromobility solutions,” said Bosch Board Member Dr. Markus Heyn. “Whether at established OEMs or start-ups, Bosch is accelerating development and helps achieve fast breakthroughs on the market.”

“We have been aggressively pursuing our goal of bringing the most advanced semi-truck ever built to market,” said Nikola Founder and CEO Trevor Milton. “The powertrain requires an innovative and flexible partner able to adapt quickly to the speed of our team. Bosch has empowered us to come to market quickly with automotive-grade hardware and software so our vision can become a reality.”


Source: Bosch

  • WebUserAtLarge

    A great concept, but I’m afraid that eventually the limiting factor here will be the H2 infrastructure. With a slew of ultra-fast charger types in the pipeline, and the relatively less expensive costs to install them vs building an H2 refueling station, just like the longer ranged passenger EVs, EV trucks will be able to recharge just about anywhere. Tesla Semi and other pure EV trucks will have an advantage here. Not mentioning the fact that the cost of electricity will always be less then the cost of H2 per mile. I’d imagine the maintenance of the EV trucks will be less as well. Even if initially longer ranged, Nicola will still will be limited by the lack of H2 refueling stations and those extra costs. Can’t help it but see it in the example of EV passenger cars clobbering H2 cars from Toyota and Hyundai. ihmo

    • mrrumbles

      I think that this is an application where FCVs outshine EVs. The large energy requirement of these vehicles means that an EV truck will either take too long to charge or battery swapping stations will be required. Since the latter have not been shown beyond demonstration projects, it’s not clear that they are feasible.

      This is not to say that the H2 infrastructure isn’t going to be an issue. But Nikola has already announced plans to build a nationwide network of H2 stations. If they can do this successfully, H2 trucks could be quite viable.

      For other missions, like city driving, EVs are superior. But for long-distance driving, FCVs are more advantageous, IMHO.

    • My Vizn

      I agree. No one is explaining the true costs of hydrogen deployment across the US. There is so much hype regarding the realistic transportation and fueling of hydrogen. If anyone took a minute to do research it is a fuel that will always be controlled without ny future knowledge of the actual costs. Most of the hydrogen these suppliers are talking about puts them in the “wallet” of fleet operators/drivers. What will H2 cost in 5 years? Also, its primarily being siphoned off from natural gas production. Electricity derived from solar with battery storage is the most reliable way to power vehicles now and into the future. Solar is a true renewable fuel when linked to electric powertrains. Also, Solid State batteries in 4 years or so will allow 400-500 mile ranges and fast charging…I say we’ve looked at H2 as a fuel and it just doesn’t pan out. BUYER BE WARE as they say.

      • Tom Kelley

        What will H2 cost in 5 years? Less than today. H2 can be produced at the point of dispensing to the fleets’ vehicles. One can correlate H2 price with the price of electricity and adjust for new developments.

        There are many hub-and-spoke vehicle operations. While fast chargers will address time-to-charge concerns, if a fleet comes back to a central location in the evening and each vehicle needs 100kw-hr, then a fleet of 100 vehicles (like school buses), then the depot will need 10^4 kw-hr of energy. This is most likely at the time of the highest community demand for electricity. Even spreading the fleet’s charging over 10 hours would mean a 1000 kw load. That would be a lot of amps and would require some hefty wiring.

        Of course, one could buy twice as many buses / vehicles and stagger the charging. Drive each vehicle every other day and they will last longer. Big initial capital investment, but may well be less than an H2 plant.