Skip to main content

This hydrogen semi truck could help clean up Europe’s roads — if it gets built

Nikola Motor Company (the second company named after Nikola Tesla) believes future long-haul trucks should be powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The company hasn’t delivered a single truck yet, but it’s already unveiling a new design. While the original Nikola One and Nikola Two semi trucks (basically two variants of the same design) were aimed at the United States, the Nikola Tre was designed for Europe.

The Nikola Tre will be available in 500 horsepower to 1,000 hp versions and with a range of 500 kilometers to 1,200 km (310 to 746 miles), according to its maker. Nikola also said the truck was designed to meet size and length restrictions for Europe. The flat front and boxy overall appearance are common for European semi trucks, but rarely seen in the U.S. these days. Nikola also said the Tre will possess hardware that lays the foundation for autonomous driving.

A Nikola press release said the company plans to begin testing in Norway around 2020, and that Nikola is in the “preliminary planning stages” to choose a location for a European factory. Nikola hopes to start production of the Tre around 2022 or 2023, the same time it plans to begin production of trucks for the U.S.

Nikola said it is already working with Norwegian firm Nel Hydrogen to provide hydrogen fueling stations in the U.S., and will expand the effort to Europe. By 2028, Nikola said it plans to have 700 stations across the U.S. and Canada. The company said it plans to have its first European stations online by 2022, with a network covering “most of the European market” by 2030.

Zero-emission commercial vehicles are gaining popularity. In addition to Nikola, Toyota is testing fuel-cell semi trucks, albeit in shorter-haul service around the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Meanwhile, Tesla and several other companies are developing battery-powered trucks. Nikola has sued Tesla, claiming the design of the latter’s battery-powered semi truck is too similar to its own fuel-cell truck.

Nikola claims to have approximately $11 billion in reservations for its trucks, including an 800-unit order from Anheuser-Busch. But wooing potential buyers with big promises is easy. As other startups have found, vehicle production is expensive and complicated. Following through on those promises by building trucks and supporting infrastructure will be the real challenge.

Editors' Recommendations

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
Genesis Neolun concept is an electric SUV inspired by tradition
Profile view of the Genesis Neolun concept.

Luxury SUVs have a familiar template: acres of leather, a high-end audio system, and some quality seat massagers. Unveiled ahead of the 2024 New York Auto Show, the Genesis Neolun, an EV concept previewing a future flagship SUV from the Korean brand, does things a little differently.

Like many traditional SUVs, the Neolun isn't small. But designers didn't try to hide its bulk and instead opted for a clean-and-simple design that, according to Genesis, is inspired by traditional Korean moon-shaped porcelain jars.

Read more
April’s solar eclipse may produce an unexpected consequence
A total solar eclipse.

A total solar eclipse is set to occur in the U.S. on April 8, and people are making plans to be in the right place when it happens.

The perfect spot is a 100-mile path stretching from Maine in the northeast all the way to Texas in the south. Being within this path will allow you to experience a fleeting moment that will see daylight diminish and nature’s noises cease as creatures become fooled by the false dusk.

Read more
The 5 best portable power inverters for cars in 2024
A man enjoying the Energizer 4000W power inverter.

Whether there’s a power outage locally or you’re driving to a remote location, sometimes we just need portable power. While you could lug around one of the best portable power stations to get your remote electricity fix, your best bet may be one of the best portable power inverters instead. These devices draw energy directly from your car’s battery, giving you accessibility to power without needing to carry around a very heavy battery, charge it, or any of the other hassles associated with portable energy. If you have a car, you’re ready to use a portable power inverter.

Read more