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December 3, 2019 11:00 AM, EST

Nikola Battery-Electric Truck Slated for Europe in 2021

Nikola TRE hydrogen fuel cell truck Nikola debuted the TRE hydrogen fuel cell truck for the European market April 16, 2019. (Nikola Motor Co./YouTube)

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Nikola Corp., Iveco and FPT Industrial announced they have begun development of their joint venture’s first truck: the battery-electric Nikola TRE.

It is based on the Iveco S-WAY commercial vehicle platform, launched in July, and integrates Phoenix-based Nikola’s truck technology, controls and infotainment.

Iveco and FPT Industrial — the commercial vehicle brand and powertrain division, respectively, of London-based CNH Industrial — will contribute their engineering and manufacturing expertise to industrialize battery-electric, and eventually fuel cell trucks.

The joint venture, announced in September when CNH became an investor in Nikola, adopted a modular approach in developing its electric offering for the European market.

Nikola’s fuel cell will be the starting point for the design so that the Nikola TRE Battery Electric Vehicle can be converted to fuel cell technology.

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The partners plan to launch the battery-electric Nikola TRE at the 2020 IAA Commercial Vehicles exhibition in Hanover, Germany, and Nikola World 2020, delivering the first units to customers in 2021, while the fuel cell electric vehicle will be available to customers by 2023.
Nikola intends to offer in Europe what it refers to as its “disruptive business model” for fuel-cell electric vehicles with an all-inclusive lease rate that, on per-mile basis, includes the cost of the truck, fuel and maintenance.

“The Nikola TRE is gorgeous and innovative and unlike any other truck in the world,” Nikola Motors CEO Trevor Milton said. “We needed the right partner to help us enter the European market and CNH Industrial is the right commercial partner. While other OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] are laying off tens of thousands of employees, Nikola is creating thousands of jobs and forcing the trucking industry to react and go zero emission.”

Cummins Inc. and Daimler AG in recent weeks have announced workforce reductions.

The Nikola TRE 4x2 tractor is intended for regional applications, with a range of up to 400 kilometers (248.5 miles) and dynamic performance equal to, or better than, a diesel equivalent model, according to Nikola.

The vehicle will feature a modular battery system with a total capacity of up to 720 kilowatt hours, which can be tailored to match different customers’ missions. The electric driveline will deliver 480 kilowatt continuous power output with 1,800 newton metre (Nm) peak torque. 

The Nikola TRE will also be available in 2- and 3-axle rigid versions, with gross vehicle weight ranging from 18 tonnes (39,683 pounds) to 26 tonnes (57,320) in urban distribution and municipality applications.

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 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.

Iveco designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of light-, medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles and off-road trucks. It employs 21,000 people globally, and manages production sites in seven countries throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania and Latin America. It has 4,200 sales and service outlets in more than 160 countries for technical support.

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