Nikola and Bosch develop hydrogen-electric long-haul truck

Nikola and Bosch develop hydrogen-electric long-haul truck
Design for the Nikola One and Two, the hydrogen-electric powertrain for which is being developed in partnership between the Nikola Motor Company and Bosch.
Published: 20 September 2017 - 4 a.m.
By: John Bambridge

The USA’s Nikola Motor Company is developing the world’s first hydrogen-electric hybrid, long-haul heavy trucks, the Nikola One and Two, based on a commercial vehicle powertrain developed in partnership Bosch.

The trucks will be brought to market by 2021 and deliver more than 1,000 horsepower – nearly double the horsepower of any semi-trailer, tractor-head truck on the road – and 2,712Nm of torque, all with “zero local emissions”.

The Nikola-Bosch powertrain has been re-imagined from the ground up, with Bosch’s eAxle expertise allowing Nikola to move forward with an aggressive timeline for bringing its electric truck to market.

“The powertrain requires an innovative and flexible partner able to adapt quickly to the speed of our team. Bosch has empowered us to come to market quickly with automotive-grade hardware and software so our vision can become a reality,” said Nikola Founder and CEO Trevor Milton.

The eAxle developed by Bosch is a scalable, modular platform with the motor, power electronics and transmission in one compact unit, making it suitable for all kinds of vehicles.

In the Nikola trucks, the eAxles will be paired with a custom-designed fuel cell system that is also being developed jointly between Nikola and Bosch, and designed to deliver benchmark vehicle range.

“Bosch is an incubator of electromobility solutions. No matter whether at established OEMs or start-ups, Bosch is accelerating development and helps achieve fast breakthroughs on the market,” commented Dr Markus Heyn, Bosch board member for commercial vehicles.

“Breakthrough mobility technology requires visionary targets, speed to-market and disciplined structure to ensure long-term success. Together with Nikola, we are pushing ourselves to realise new levels of technological achievement and market penetration.”

The vehicle controls will be jointly developed by the two companies, but based upon Bosch’s vehicle control software and hardware. The powertrain is also being designed to achieve segment-leading performance at a competitive total cost of ownership to traditional powertrains.

Similarly, the powertrain safety concepts and electrical architecture will be jointly developed, and advanced simulation technologies will be used throughout the development process for testing and validation to ensure that the technology is fully optimised.

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