Saturday, 9 July 2016

Turbine truck set to overtake diesel Class 8s?

Nikola Motor Company (NMC) of Salt Lake City, Utah claims it has generated $2.3 billion in reservations, accounting for over 7,000 truck reservations with deposits, for its new turbine-driven hybrid Class 8 truck.

The company announced last month the launch an electric Class 8 tractor unit, dubbed Nikola One.
“Our technology is 10-15 years ahead of any other OEM in fuel efficiencies, miles-per-gallon and emissions. We are the only OEM to have a near zero emission truck and still outperform diesel trucks running at 80,000lb,” claims NMC founder and chief executive officer Trevor Milton.
The Nikola One truck leasing programme costs $4,000 to $5,000 a month, depending on truck configuration. The first million miles of fuel is included with every truck sale, offsetting 100 per cent of the monthly lease for every owner.
An average diesel burns over $400,000 in fuel and racks up over $100,000 in maintenance costs over 1,000,000 miles, according to Milton.
“These costs are eliminated with the Nikola One lease,” said Milton. “We believe we will pass the current market leaders like Daimler, Paccar, Volvo and Navistar International in sales orders within the next 12-24 months.”
“Just imagine the orders that will come in once we begin taking dealer applications. We have shown other OEMs and their shareholders why they should be nervous about Nikola Motor Company. Some of the top Class 8 dealerships in America have reached out and are willing to either add our brand or move away from their existing brands,” claims Milton.
                                         Turbine-electric hybrid truck
NMC claims it has designed, engineered and is finalizing assembly of the first-ever, electric-driven Class 8 tractor unit offering over 1,200 miles between stops.
Nikola One has a 335 bhp electric motor and a dual gear reduction at every wheel (6x6). Combined, these have an output of over 2,000 bhp and over 3,700 ftlb torque before gear reduction. NMC claims nearly 86,000 ftlb instant torque after gear reduction.
The truck’s six electric motors produce superior horsepower, torque, acceleration, pulling and stopping power over any Class 8 truck on the road, according to NMC.
The electric motors are powered by a liquid-cooled 320 kWh, lithium-ion battery pack comprising over 30,000 lithium cells. NMC claims these receive power a “proprietary on-board NMC turbine” which automatically charges the batteries when needed and eliminates the need “to ever plug-in”.
The turbine produces nearly 400 kW “clean energy”. NMC claims the turbine provides “ample battery power” to allow Nikola One to climb a six percent grade at maximum weight at 65 mile/h. A typical Class 8 diesel truck under similar conditions would have a hard time reaching 35 mile/h, adds NMC.
And travelling downhill, the six electric motors absorb the braking energy normally lost and return to the batteries, increasing component life, miles per gallon, safety, and freight efficiencies while eliminating noisy engine brakes and reducing the potential for runaway trucks.
When compared to a typical class 8 diesel engine, NMC says its turbine is “much cleaner and more efficient”. The gas turbine can run on a range of fuels, including gasoline, diesel or clean burning natural gas.
                                           Independent suspension
The truck incorporates a new proprietary independent suspension system, based on Meritor’s all-wheel drive ProTec High Mobility Independent Suspension product line.
As the first Class 8 vehicle to offer a fully independent suspension, NMC says drivers will experience premium ride quality and reduced vibration, minimizing driver fatigue. The unique steering geometry achieves a new standard in tracking, centring feel, and intuitive feedback, allowing drivers to focus on the road ahead.
With an electric motor at each wheel, the truck’s software can provide dynamic control to each wheel, or torque vectoring. This is accomplished by controlling the speed and torque of each of the six wheels independent of each other at any given moment.
NMC says this first ever, 6x6 torque vectoring hardware and software system will allow for safer cornering, double the stopping power, improved traction, less tire wear and longer component life over current class 8 trucks.
Meanwhile, it will be recalled that in 2014, Walmart unveiled WAVE - Walmart Advanced Vehicle Experience, a futuristic aerodynamic tractor unit based around Paccar chassis and a micro-turbine provided by Capstone Turbine Corporation of Chatsworth, California and linked to a hybrid propulsion system.

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