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May 12, 2016 9:30 AM, EDT

Nikola Motor Promises Prototype Electric Class 8 Truck This Year

Nikola Motor Co.
Nikola Motor Company

Nikola Motor Co. will display a working prototype of a 2,000 horsepower Class 8 all- electric truck “later this year,” the manufacturer said.

The Nikola One is capable of pulling 80,000 pounds and has a range of more than 1,200 miles between stops. The truck has a 335 hp electric motor and dual gear reduction at every wheel, and offers a fully independent suspension — an industry first, according to the company.

“The Nikola One’s electric motors are powered by a liquid-cooled 320kWh, lithium-ion battery pack [over 30,000 lithium cells], which is charged by a proprietary onboard Nikola Motor Co. turbine. The turbine automatically charges the batteries when needed and eliminates the need to ever plug in,” the company statement said.

The turbine powers the battery bank and runs on natural gas but can be configured to run off diesel or gasoline, according to the company.

The truck is capable of climbing a 6% grade at maximum weight at 65 mph while a typical Class 8 diesel truck under similar conditions “would have a hard time reaching 35 mph.”

"We want to even the playing field and income inequalities seen between owner-operators and fleets for the first time in recent trucking history," Nikola Motor Co. founder and CEO Trevor Milton said in a statement. "This is just the beginning of what's ahead for America, our company and the electric vehicle market."

The truck is capable of platooning, and a single driver will be able to lead up to five Nikola One trucks with the firms vehicle network and self-driving technology.

“This technology could solve the driver shortage and increased freight costs facing the longhaul transportation industry,” the company said.