In May, Nikola Motor Company made its public debut as an electric truck company. Now, just one month later, the company announced it has already received 7,000 pre-orders, which could add up to $2.3 billion in final sales. So far, they have introduced two vehicles: an electric 4×4 UTV (Utility Task Vehicle) and a semi-truck with a natural gas-electric hybrid system. The company is clearly positioning itself as being ready for the future of driverless vehicles. A press release states:
[Our] proprietary hardware and software have unmatched compatibility with the future of driverless vehicles. Once testing is complete and government regulations allow, a single Nikola One driver will have the ability to “virtually” hitch and lead up to five driverless Nikola One trucks throuh NMC’s wireless vehicle network and self-driving technology.
The Nikola One is a class 8 hybrid semi that doesn’t have to be plugged in for charging. Instead, its six electric motors are powered by a liquid cooled 320 kWh battery pack (comprising 30,000 lithium cells), which is automatically charged by an onboard turbine. The 2,000 horsepower truck also has some other interesting tech features, such as large touch screen displays, 4G LTE internet and Wi-Fi, and over the air software updates. The truck’s battery pack powers these features, plus comfort items including a full-sided fridge, a microwave, and a TV. Software independently controls each wheel with “torque vectoring” for improved safety and reduced wear and tear.
Their electric UTV, the Nicola Zero, is expected to have 520 horsepower, a 125-mile range, and the ability to drive under water. Its motors are powered by 4,000 lithium cells that make up a 400-volt, 50kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Additionally, two 300 watt solar panels on the roof will supply electricity to a separate battery that powers the vehicle’s lights, touch screen displays, and other electronics. The UTV has the same “torque vectoring” software as the truck.
The company is planning to unveil a prototype of the Nicola One at a December 2, 2016 event.