Tesla rival Nikola Motor unveils hydrogen-based cargo truck for Europe

Tesla rival Nikola Motor unveils hydrogen-based cargo truck for Europe

Nikola Tre truck
Nikola Motors
The Nikola Tre hydrogen truck, coming to Europe in 2022

U.S. low-emission truck maker Nikola Motor Company last week released details of its new long-range hydrogen lorry designed to secure it a foothold in the European market.

In a statement, Nikola said the "stunning" Nikola Tre hydrogen electric truck will be the first on the European market to be able to operate with almost complete autonomy — the latest step towards driverless freight transport becoming a reality.

The vehicle will have a range of up to 1,200 kilometers, Nikola added, while boasting up to 1,000 brake horsepower.

It will go head-to-head with Tesla's all-electric Semi truck, which will have a range of 500 miles and goes into production next year.

Nikola Motor CEO Trevor Milton insisted its hydrogen truck will be a hit with European customers.

"This truck is a real stunner and long overdue for Europe," he said. "It will be the first European zero-emission commercial truck to be delivered with redundant braking, redundant steering, redundant 800Vdc batteries and a redundant 120 kW hydrogen fuel cell, all necessary for true level 5 autonomy."

The haulage vehicle — Nikola's third to date — will be on display at the firm's annual show in Phoenix in April, and go into production in the USA and Europe in 2022 or 2023. Pricing details were not disclosed.

Advocates of hydrogen vehicles argue that with the right infrastructure in place they can deliver better range and performance than plug-in electric vehicles, especially for trucks, buses and other large vehicles. Plug-in EV developers counter that improvements in battery technology are making long-range EV trucks and buses a viable alternative for conventional heavy vehicles, especially given the rapid expansion of charging networks.

Nikola said it has not yet chosen the location for its European manufacturing base, but confirmed it would work with its U.S. partner Nel Hydrogen to plan the rollout of hydrogen refueling infrastructure across the trading bloc.

By 2028 Nikola plans to have more than 700 hydrogen refueling stations across the United States and Canada, as well as enough European refueling stations "to cover most of the market" by 2030.

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