Despite reportedly taking $10.5 million in reservation deposits (across ~7,000 preorders), the Nikola Motor Company has completely backed away from its plans to offer a battery-electric Nikola One semi-truck, according to recent reports.
While not slated for a full reveal until the end of the year, it had previously been stated by the company that the semi would possess: 6 different electric motors, a 320 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery pack, and a total system output of 2,000 horsepower + 3,700 pound-feet of torque.
The company is now reportedly going to be revealing in December a hydrogen-fuel-cell semi-truck instead, a truck with only 1,000 horsepower and 2,000 pound-feet of torque. Maybe I’m wrong, but this seems like a classic bait-and-switch scam, doesn’t it?
Autoblog provides more, noting that, “up until now everything Nikola Motor Company, the company that essentially came out of thin air with the goal of making a zero emission-semi truck, claimed seemed somewhat plausible. While its outrageous specs and claims for the Nikola One raised some concerns, nothing was a red flag, until now. … Instead of using a 320-kWh battery pack and a fuel-agnostic turbine, the company is looking towards a custom-built hydrogen-electric 800V fuel cell. Nikola Motors also claims that its Nikola One will have a range of more than 1,200 miles between fill-ups and can get nearly 20 mpg, all while emitting zero emissions.”
Continuing: “(Nikola Motor CEO Treveor) Milton claims the company will build zero-emissions solar farms that will produce more than 100 megawatts and will utilize electrolysis to create hydrogen from water. Despite planning to make its own hydrogen, Nikola Motors will offer the natural gas variant of its semi truck for countries where hydrogen isn’t readily available. The company aims to have 50 ‘hydrogen stations’ by 2020 for customers to refuel its vehicles.”
What should someone make of this all? Bad news for those who put down reservations (if the reservation figures were accurate/true), but what else? Scammers and utopians tend to be an issue when a new technology first starts picking up importance, so there’s essentially nothing new here — just another way to pump useful money into a useless idea.