Nikola Taps Bosch to Power Class 8 Hydrogen-Electric Trucks

September 19, 2017 by Ryan ZumMallen, @Zoomy575M

Nikola Motor Co. and parts supplier Bosch will jointly develop powertrain systems for the Nikola One and Nikola Two, hydrogen-electric Class 8 semi-trucks scheduled to reach the market by 2021, the companies announced Tuesday.

Separately, Nikola confirmed that the trucking startup completed a $110 million funding round in late June to give it a valuation of $900 million.

Under the powertrain agreement, Bosch will supply Nikola with its eAxle technology that houses the motor, transmission and power electronics in one compact unit. Each truck will feature two eAxles to provide up to 1,200 miles of range.

The parts supplier will also provide Nikola with other electric vehicle motors and technology and the two companies will work together on the vehicle controls and a custom-designed fuel cell system.

The partnership with Bosch sheds light on how Nikola plans to back up its claims of providing zero emissions trucks with 1,000 horsepower and 2,000 pound-feet of torque.

“We have been aggressively pursuing our goal of bringing the most advanced semi-truck ever built to market,” said Trevor Milton, founder and chief executive of Nikola. “Bosch has empowered us to come to market quickly with automotive grade hardware and software so our vision can become a reality.”

Nikola will begin to face increasing competition. Toyota Motor Co. launched a pilot program to test a hydrogen fuel cell truck at the Port of Los Angeles this summer, and investors are optimistic about Tesla as the company prepares to announce details for its electric heavy-duty truck in October.

Nikola is contracting truck components company Fitzgerald Gliders to build the first 5,000 production models of both the Nikola One sleeper and Nikola Two day cab by 2021.

The company will include autonomous features in the trucks such as steering to allow for driverless operation. It will plans to build more than 300 hydrogen fueling stations across the country and provide free refueling to its customers for the first one million miles.

Bosch unveiled the eAxle unit earlier this year as a scalable and modular platform designed to fit a wide variety of electric vehicles, providing between 50 and 300 kilowatts of output. Nikola said its version will have an output of 372 kilowatts.

The companies will also work together to develop the overall electrical system for the vehicle and conduct testing using simulation technology from start to finish along the development cycle.

“Together with Nikola we are pushing ourselves to realize new levels of technological achievement and market penetration,” said Markus Heyn, a member of Bosch’s board of management.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct two errors. The valuation of Nikola Motor Co. is $900 million. An earlier version of this story cited a previous estimate of $1 billion. The eAxle has an output between 50 and 300 kilowatts. An earlier version of this story said its output was between 50 and 300 watts.

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