Iveco has unveiled a full-size mock-up of the battery-electric truck it is developing with Nikola. The actual production prototype will be displayed at the IAA Show in Hannover this Autumn, with first production examples reaching customers next year.
Dubbed the Nikola TRE, the battery truck, with a claimed range of 250 miles, is a precursor to a fuel-cell version that will use hydrogen as a power-source.
The modular nature of both designs means that battery versions could be converted to fuel-cell power in the future, as the technology and refuelling networks develop. The chassis and cab are based on the Iveco S-Way, with Nikola’s technology integrated into the truck by Italdesign (Transport Operator 84).
Unladen weight is said to be 900 kg more than that of the equivalent S-Way for both the battery and fuel-cell versions, but the hydrogen truck carries its 40-80 kg gas supply in high-pressure carbon-fibre tanks between the chassis rails where the battery version mounts nine lithium-ion battery packs with 720 kW/h capacity.
The motor is rated at 300 Kw (equivalent to 402 hp), and is mounted in the drive-axle. Range of the battery truck is said to be up to 400 km, with the fuel-cell version more than doubling that.
Recharging time for the battery-electric truck is two hours, while the hydrogen version can be regassed in about 15 minutes.
While the mock-up shown is of a 4×2 regional tractor, the Nikola TRE will also be available in two- and three-axle rigid formats.
Inside the cab is a new infotainment system based on Nikola’s proprietary operating system that integrates infotainment and navigation functions, as well as controls for the bulk of the vehicle’s functionalities. The system’s features include climate control, mirror adjustment, suspension height adjustment, 360-degree camera system, navigation, Bluetooth audio system, comprehensive vehicle settings and admin vehicle diagnostics.
The vehicle uses Bluetooth low-energy technology to create a secure link between the vehicle and the customer’s mobile device, creating a hands-free media experience. This also enables a smart keyless entry system to unlock as the driver approaches the vehicle. The system can even adjust settings such as ride height and climate temperature to driver preference.
Although badged as a Nikola, the truck will be built in an Iveco plant in Europe, and sold and supported through the CNH company’s dealers.