What if the future of road transport were to be built on 100% electric or fuel cell trucks? According to Citepa (Centre interprofessionnel technique d’études de la pollution atmosphérique), trucks are responsible for more than 8% of carbon dioxide emissions in France.
Add to this the fact that since 1 January 2019, all new trucks built in the European Union must mention their fuel consumption and CO2 emissions in order to encourage future buyers to buy cleaner and more fuel-efficient trucks (source Europe Trucks).
There are already a plethora of electric truck manufacturers, such as Daimler Trucks, Volvo, Renault Trucks, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck (Daimler), Hino (Toyota), Tesla and its Semi, as well as its number one rival Nikola Motors. It specialises in 100% electric and fuel cell trucks.
Three months ago, the American start-up formed a joint venture with the Italian company Iveco, owned by the Italian-American group CNH Industrial. The objective is to take advantage of everyone’s expertise to manufacture clean, zero-emission trucks.
In this way, Nikola will provide its experience in hydrogen powertrains and “advanced technologies”, while Iveco will contribute its know-how in the engineering and industrialization of fuel cell and battery electric trucks. It is also a way for Iveco to catch up in this area.
Two Trucks in One
The truck will be developed from the Nikola Tre on the Iveco S-Way platform presented two years ago. Initially, the Iveco S-Way is powered by a range of diesel engines from 330 to 570 hp with three different engine sizes (8.7 l, 11.1 l and 12.9 l), or natural gas (CNG) from 340 to 460 hp (8.7 l and 12.9 l).
Nikola Tre was also unveiled in April 2019 in the United States. Intended for urban use, the Tre weighs between 18 and 26 t and develops 480 kW of power for a torque of 1,800 Nm. All this is powered by modular battery packs with a total capacity of up to 720 kWh. The Nikola has the advantage of being convertible with a fuel cell engine.
While the Iveco S-Way’s base is still there, Nikola will provide the electric powertrain and infotainment. As for the design, it will be developed jointly by Nikola and Italdesign (a subsidiary of Audi). The first tests will begin in mid-2020 for marketing from 2021.