Nikola Delivers Electric Semi Trucks in California


Having recently posted an article highlighting some of Nikola’s bad behavior, it’s only fair that the company receives some acknowledgment for delivering on a promise. Last week, the company shipped the first examples of its Tre battery-electric trucks in California.

Two test vehicles were issued to Total Transportation Services Inc. (TTSI) to see how the Tre handles running deliveries in and out of Los Angeles and Long Beach ports. The trucking firm has a letter of intent from Nikola to purchase 100 trucks following a trial program of two Tre BEVs and their fuel-cell (FCEV) counterparts once the latter is in production. 

Granted, it’s just two trucks and they’re not even the finalized version. But it’s still a meaningful step in making Nikola more than the scandal-ridden façade that helped its founder rake in millions. If things go well, it might even become a productive automaker forcing your author to eat crow. I’ve had my doubts about Nikola and battery electric semis in general after numerous engineers claimed that there was no way to square the energy density needed to make a functional long-haul delivery rig.

However, Nikola has the Tre offering a claimed range of 350 miles due to its exceptionally large 753.0-kWh battery pack. The unit is supposed to be capable of going from 10 to 80 percent charge in two hours when getting smacked with 240 kW and has a gross combined vehicle weight of 82,000. We’re not sure how the load will impact the range. But the 350 miles is the maximum, presumably indicating a totally unburdened truck. That leaves us with some questions as to how far it can haul its cargo. Though with 645 continuous e-horses on tap it should be capable of dragging around its payload at an electronically governed 75 mph without much trouble.

Nikola said it planned on getting TTSI an additional 30 battery-electric trucks in 2022 after the company has finished testing the duo it’s already sent over. But the FCEVs are a bit of a mystery. It’s still not clear how deep into development the hydrogen trucks are. But the company is supposed to commence deliveries in 2023 — and not just in the United States. Nikola also has deals in Germany, thanks to its partnership with Iveco.

[Images: Nikola]

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