Nikola Motor names Bosch and PowerCell AB as key suppliers for fuel-cell Class-8 truck; field testing in Fall 2018
Nikola Motor Company has named Bosch and PowerCell AB as key suppliers for the Nikola class 8 hydrogen-fuel-cell electric truck, unveiled as a prototype in December 2016. In September, Nikola had said that it was working with Bosch on the development of the vehicle’s powertrain. (Earlier post.)
PowerCell Sweden AB will be the primary supplier of fuel cell stacks for Nikola’s pre-production testing vehicles. The PowerCell S3 (100 kW) is a fuel cell stack with best-in-class power density and is primarily designed for automotive application. The full Nikola fuel cell system is anticipated to output more than 300 kW continuously. The truck’s powertrain will deliver more than 1,000 hp (746 kW) and 2,000 lb-ft (2,712 N·m) of torque.
The PowerCell S3 was developed in an EU-funded project, Auto-stack Core, in collaboration with sub-suppliers, institutes and the end users VW and BMW.
The fuel cell system will recharge the 320 kWh battery pack, which in turn will power the drive motors. The hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered day-cab is slated to have a range of 800 to 1,200 miles, with a 15-minute refill time.
|The PowerCell S3. Click to enlarge.|
It has been designed to handle the entire lease period of one million miles per truck. Nikola says that its fuel cell—one of the most important pieces to the Nikola drivetrain—is one of the most power-dense and advanced units yet built.
Our relationship with Bosch also gives us access to their experienced engineering team which is one of the largest and most respected in the world. This relationship will be helpful in bringing our products to market as quickly and safely as possible. Design of reliable systems for commercial vehicles takes decades of experience and Bosch brings that to our relationship.—Nikola Motor CEO Trevor Milton
If all goes well during road testing, the PowerCell system will be integrated into the production lineup. Nikola plans to announce a secondary stack supplier in 2018 that will act as a backup and overflow for any testing issues or production bottlenecks.
The fully operational, pre-production Nikola Two day-cab will begin testing in Fall of 2018. Following its release, the Nikola Two will undergo a 12-month testing period in extreme climates. This testing period will give the company valuable data in preparation for full production in 2021.
The first 5,000 trucks will be built at Fitzgerald Gliders in Tennessee while Nikola builds its own manufacturing facility. The location of the Nikola manufacturing facility will be named in early 2018.