The first Nikola electric trucks will be delivered

Nikola Iveco Europe, a joint venture between Nikola Motors and Iveco, opened its electric truck plant last week in Ulm, Germany, and its first models will be ready by the end of this year. The first Nikola Tre truck, powered by electricity stored in the company’s batteries, also made its official debut.

Both manufacturers have already signed a contract with the Hamburg Port Authority for the supply of 25 Nikola Tre in early 2022. Close cooperation and testing of electric trucks in the framework of port transport and logistics, using efficient charging methods, is also planned.

At a later stage, the agreement provides for the full integration of electric trucks into port operations, infrastructure and maintenance. This year, it is planned to produce another 25 similar trucks for customers in the United States.

Nikola Tre BEV

The electric Nikola Tre is based on the Italian manufacturer Iveco’s popular S-Way truck model platform. Depending on the version, a fully charged car can travel up to 560 km. Nikola Tre is designed for the needs of cities and regional companies: from port administration to utilities.

The reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from transport fleets has received a new impetus. Although today, in terms of CO2 emissions, we mostly discuss the gasification of existing freight transport, Nikola trucks are no less important, because they demonstrate alternative technologies and show which trucks will drive on the roads of the Baltic States in the future.

Of course, it will take time to perfect the technology to its maximum efficiency, but the fact that we can already see real high-performance electric cars operating in the fleets of specialized companies increases the optimism of all those involved in the industry.

Ernests Jakubonis, Iveco brand manager in the Baltics

Preparations for production are completed at a record pace

According to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA), 96.5 percent of new trucks registered in the European Union (EU) last year were diesel-powered, a figure that is a growing concern for Europeans. As a result, more and more European cities are looking for ways to move away from polluting transport and are actively innovating.

Hamburg continues to move towards a more climate-friendly city and follows the guidelines of the EU’s long-term strategy. We believe that the trucks currently being developed in Ulm perfectly meet our requirements.

Jens Meiers, Director General of the Port of Hamburg

He is also supported by Hamburg’s Senator for Economic and Innovation Michael Westhagemann. He emphasized that Germany’s second largest city aims to be climate-friendly and that the agreement with Nikola Iveco Europe was the first but crucial step in an innovative port project.

Germany’s largest port is a great place to showcase Nikola Tre’s performance and competitiveness. We hope to see the first results at an early stage and to understand how we can best help the Hamburg Port Authority to meet its energy consumption and emission reduction targets.

Gary Marx, President of Commercial and Specialized Vehicles at Iveco owner CNH Industrial

According to Gerita, preparations for production after the official announcement of the partnership between Iveco and Nikola Motors in 2019 were completed in record time, despite all kinds of challenges in the industry and the problems caused by the pandemic. The Ulm plant will be used exclusively for the production of electric vehicles, and parts will be supplied by more than 160 suppliers from around the world.

Iveco’s expertise and experience have allowed us to create a platform that makes the best use of Nikola’s technology. We are now working to consolidate the success of the project and at the same time take the lead in the development of environmentally friendly long-distance and local lorries.

Gary Marx, President of Commercial and Specialized Vehicles at Iveco owner CNH Industrial

The current production line capacity is about 1,000 trucks per year, working in one shift, but it is planned to increase the volume to 3,000 units in the future.

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Electric drive – also with hydrogen fuel cell system

In 2023, the plant will begin production of a fuel cell or hydrogen (FCEV) version of the Tre model: with a full charge, it will cover a distance of about 800 kilometers. The Nikola Two hydrogen truck, which will develop more than 1,000 hp and be able to cover more than 1,400 km with full tanks and cargo, is scheduled to be produced from 2024, but this version will only be available on the North American market.

Nikola Tre FCEV
Nikola Tre FCEV

The current FCEV technology is considered to be a better solution for long-distance transport: trucks equipped with it will cover longer distances than battery-powered vehicles. A prototype of the hydrogen-powered Nikola Tre has also left the production line.

One of the biggest advantages of FCEV is the ability to use “green” hydrogen produced from renewable sources, such as solar or wind energy, as well as the ability to transport clean energy to regions where its production is difficult or extremely expensive.

The EU aims to reduce CO. By 20302 emissions by 55% compared to 1990. There are only eight years left until the deadline, after which the supply of diesel-powered lorries is expected to be minimal, with gas, hydrogen or electricity trucks taking the largest market share.

Charged opinion

Without Iveco’s partnership and a battery solution, the news of Nikola would have been skeptical. In the past, this company has been embroiled in scandals about loud but empty slogans. Surprisingly, gas is still lobbied, because it is also clear that this transitions technology has no future.

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Hydrogen application efficiency for land vehicles
Hydrogen application efficiency for land vehicles

Let’s talk about the hydrogen truck when it is real. Especially when it comes to “green” hydrogen. Hydrogen in transport is a very, very inefficient (read expensive) solution. Even in European documents, despite the hydrogen strategy, there are doubts about this.

From the point of view of global energy consumption or GHGs, the conversion of useful electricity into hydrogen is unlikely to make sense.

WELL-TO-TANK Report Version 4.a, JEC WELL-TO-WHEELS ANALYSIS, Eiropas Komisija

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