Nikola details progress on hydrogen truck debut

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Updated May 12, 2017

In a letter to reservation holders last month, Nikola Motor Company detailed the progress the company has made on its Nikola One tractor, including possible changes to the lease options and chassis design.

The letter, which is signed by Nikola founder Trevor Milton, says the company is “evaluating several pricing options for a lease or purchase of the Nikola trucks.”

One such option is price per-mile system that charges drivers a fixed cost per-mile to operate a Nikola truck with a minimum annual mileage.

“We anticipate this price per-mile option could reduce the overall cost of ownership, compared to a diesel, by as much as 30 percent,” Milton writes. “This price per-mile option will also help drivers better control their cost of ownership, by billing them for each mile driven – rather than a set lease price whether a truck is on the road and making money.”

Nikola expects pricing specifics related to this option to be available for review by early 2019.

Between now and October 2018, Milton writes an updated version of the Nikola tractor will undergo changes to the chassis that will include a reduction in weight, size, provide better visibility, increase storage and lower the fifth wheel.

“During this period, we also plan to announce where our first hydrogen station will be built and begin development of that station,” he adds.

Road testing is expected to take place from October 2018 to October 2021.

“We will also conduct three years of winter (extreme cold) and summer (extreme heat) tests, which exceed tests required under U.S. regulations,” Milton says in the letter. “We will also be working to certify our truck’s compliance under all applicable regulations during this time.”

From October 2020 to December 2021, Milton says Nikola will work with the Fitzgerald Gliders group in Tennessee for initial truck assembly and anticipates the company’s first 5,000 trucks will be assembled by Fitzgerald.

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected]