IVECO, FPT Industrial, Nikola discuss plans to achieve zero emissions and unveiled the Nikola TRE
IVECO, FPT Industrial, and Nikola presented the scope and plans of their joint venture and collaboration agreement established to accelerate industry transformation toward emission neutrality of Class 8 heavy-duty trucks in North America and Europe through the adoption of fuel-cell technology.
This comes three months after CNH Industrial’s September 3 announcement of the strategic partnership with Nikola, involving its IVECO commercial vehicles brand and its powertrain division FPT Industrial. The primary focus of the agreement is to leverage the partners’ respective expertise to successfully deploy zero-emission heavy-duty trucks and to disrupt the industry with a new business model.
The partnership includes the creation of a European joint venture to develop and distribute cab-over hydrogen fuel-cell and battery-electric trucks for the European market. Nikola will provide its fuel-cell expertise and advanced technologies, as well as its business model that foresees an industry-first all-inclusive lease rate. IVECO, together with FPT Industrial, will contribute their engineering and manufacturing expertise to industrialize the fuel-cell and battery electric trucks.
IVECO, FPT Industrial, and Nikola have started development of the joint-venture’s first truck: the battery electric Nikola TRE, which is based on the new IVECO S-WAY platform and integrates Nikola’s truck technology, controls, and infotainment. Integration of the Nikola design on the IVECO S-WAY was jointly conducted by Nikola and Italdesign in its headquarters in Moncalieri (Turin). Testing is expected to begin in mid-2020, with the European public launch planned for the IAA 2020 commercial vehicle exhibition. First units are expected to reach customers in 2021. The Nikola TRE is the first step on the path toward the Nikola Fuel Cell Electric Model (FCEV), which will be available to customers by 2023.
The partnership was launched at an event held in Turin and hosted by Hubertus M. Mühlhauser, CNH Industrial CEO; Gerrit Marx, CNH Industrial President Commercial and Specialty Vehicles; Annalisa Stupenengo, CNH Industrial President Powertrain; Trevor Milton, Nikola CEO; and Mark Russell, Nikola President.
Hubertus M. Mühlhauser, CNH Industrial CEO, stated, “The increasing focus on the recognition that there needs to be fundamental reductions in automotive emissions is driving our industry to rapidly seek advanced technological solutions. This joint-venture with Nikola is testament to both partners’ technical expertise, which will result in tangible environmental benefits for Europe’s long-distance haulers.”
Gerrit Marx, President Commercial and Specialty Vehicles, added, “Our industry is changing fast, driven by tightening emissions regulations and younger generations demanding the creation of a circular economy to preserve the environment for their future. Hydrogen and battery—depending on the mission—are the only viable solutions for green energy, and have the advantage of enabling nations to become more independent from fossil fuels. Now is the time to act and deliver a zero-emissions solution that relies on fuel-cell electric technology. We are embracing this technology early, and thoughtfully, as an opportunity to benefit from this approaching moment of technological discontinuity and start the proactive transformation of the transport sector.”
Trevor Milton, Nikola Motors CEO, concluded, “This partnership is a win-win for everyone involved. From the moment we launched the Nikola ONE in 2016, truck drivers and government officials have been asking for us to bring Nikola to Europe. The Nikola TRE is gorgeous and innovative and unlike any other truck in the world. We needed the right partner to help us enter the European market, and CNH Industrial is the right commercial partner. While other OEMs are laying off tens of thousands of employees, Nikola is creating thousands of jobs and forcing the trucking industry to react and go zero emission. Look at what we have accomplished in three months, now imagine what we will accomplish in three years with CNH Industrial as our partner.”
The theme of the launch event, “3 2 1 0,” sums up the joint venture: three, as in Nikola TRE, the joint venture’s first innovative product; the two companies—Nikola and CNH Industrial—coming together to form one partnership sharing the final goal of zero emissions. The event was livestreamed for North American viewers and a recording is available for viewing on IVECO’s YouTube channel.
Displayed at the launch event was a maquette, or scale model, of the Nikola TRE 4x2 tractor for regional missions, with a range of up to 400 km (248 mi) and dynamic performance equal to, or better than, a diesel equivalent model.
The vehicle will feature a modular battery system with a total capacity of up to 720 kWh, which can be tailored to match different customers’ missions. The electric driveline will deliver 480 kW continuous power output with 1800 Nm peak torque. The Nikola TRE will also be available in 2- and 3-axle rigid versions, with GVW ranging from 18 to 26 t for urban distribution and municipality missions.
The Nikola TRE will feature 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 leverages Bluetooth low-energy technology to create a secure link between the vehicle and the customer’s mobile device, creating a truly 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.
IVECO, FPT Industrial, and Nikola adopted a modular approach in developing their electric offering for the European market, which is unique in the industry. Nikola’s fuel cell will be the starting point for the design of the electric battery, so that the Nikola TRE battery electric vehicle (BEV) can be converted to fuel-cell technology.