Nikola adds battery-powered option to its electrified lineup

Nikola Motor Company, who’s working to develop and deploy a hydrogen-electric-powered Class 8 tractor, announced this weekend that it will showcase a battery-powered tractor at its Nikola World event in April.

The company debuted its hydrogen-electric fuel-cell tractor in December 2016.

Despite the addition of a battery option, the company tweeted it was not shifting focus away from hydrogen, adding it was simply offering battery options for shorter-range, non-weight sensitive applications.

“Zero implications on hydrogen,” read a tweet from @nikolamotor. “Hydrogen for long haul, over 700 stations going up and over 14 billion in pre orders for H2 and rising every day. BEV customers don’t compete with hydrogen as they are mainly for inner city and much less range.”

The company called hydrogen its “primary focus” for the long term with 50 to 1 sales of hydrogen versus electric.

“We believe both have their place,” the company tweeted.

Hydrogen-equipped models, according to the company, are 5,000 pounds lighter and offer lower operating costs in long-haul applications, even factoring for hydrogen costs.

Nikola has attracted investments and partnerships with major suppliers already, including investment from Wabco and a buy-in from Ryder and Bosch. It’s also secured several thousand orders for its hydrogen-electric rig from major fleets.

The company intends to deploy units for fleet testing this year and begin to ramp up production this year and next. It’s also fleshing out a hydrogen fueling network. The hydrogen-electric Nikola One, while powered by electric power, will use hydrogen fuel to create electricity, rather than charging and batteries.

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