Silicon Valley has gone crazy for trucks.
Recently we read about a group of former Google Maps engineers building Otto, a retrofitted Class 8 truck capable of autonomous interstate highway driving but utilizing a variety of off the self components.
Not content to use old technology based on guzzling diesel engines the electric vehicle upstart Nikola Motor Company announced their own take on the future of big rigs with the Nikola One, a hybrid powered truck that utilizes a CNG powered turbine that in turn charges a 32okwh battery.
All things considered the Nikola One is feat of design and engineering. The electric powered 6×6 axles provided insane amounts of torque and horsepower while using half the fuel of a conventional semi truck. With just a mere 1,500 dollars down you can reserve your very own piece of the future. Through the Nikola leasing program prospective owners can enjoy unlimited miles, unlimited refueling, and basic maintenance for just 5,000 a month. I have no idea how this compares to a traditional big rig monthly expenditure when you considered fuel, vehicle payments, and other costs but I would like to think they are competitive. Time will tell if this truck is nothing more than vaporware or somewhere in that sweet spot between fantasy and reality.
And now, following a highly anticipated announcement, Tesla Motors has announced they intended to enter the world of OTR trucks and buses. Details are scant but we can assume a Tesla Truck will be all electric powered like their car brethren. Head on over to Jalopnik for a humorous analysis of what a Tesla designed and built big right might resemble. Think Star Wars.
With ever increasing government mandates regarding emissions and fuel mileage along with an aging driver population that is struggling to find younger qualified replacements the trucking industry is ripe for a technological makeover.