Nikola Motor takes swipe at ‘Tesla Semi’, announces ‘working prototype’ unveil for December


In a weird and clearly reactionary move after Elon Musk announced that Tesla will venture in the semi-truck business, electric truck startup Nikola Motor, which like Tesla borrowed its company name from Nikola Tesla, announced that it will unveil a working prototype of its first truck, the Nikola One, on December 2nd in Salt Lake City.

We covered Nikola Motor before when they unveiled renderings and estimated specs of the Nikola One earlier this year. And again, when they claimed that they received over 7,000 pre-orders worth over $2.3 billion for the electric truck.

The Nikola One is an electric semi-truck equipped with a 320 kWh battery pack and a natural gas range extender.

In the press release (see below) announcing the date of its working prototype unveiling, Nikola Motor CEO Trevor Milton referenced “recently announced battery-powered semi-trucks” without mentioning the companies by name, but likely Tesla and Daimler since they both recently announced plans for electric trucks. Milton criticized the concepts, though Tesla didn’t unveil anything yet, for being “restricted to a range of only a couple hundred miles and four to eight hours of charging between stops.”

He compared those concepts to Nikola’s “holy grail of trucking industry” with “more than 1,000 miles” of range with “only 15 minutes of downtime”, but weirdly, he made no mention of the natural gas range extender in the press release and claimed that the vehicle will achieve “zero emissions”.

It’s not clear how they came to that conclusion, but the Energy Information Administration (EIA) states that 117 pounds of CO2 are produced for each Btu of burned natural gas. While better than gasoline, there are inevitably emissions from burning natural gas.

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