Nikola One Hydrogen Electric Semi Hits The Road In Official Film

Tesla may have overshadowed the Nikola One with their electric Semi unveiled last December, but development of the hydrogen electric truck continues.

The small start-up has already partnered with Bosch, claiming that they will bring the One and Two semis to the market by 2021. However, before that, Nikola One will unleash a fleet on the roads next year for testing purposes.

Celebrating the announcement is a video released by Nikola Motor, which shows the One on the road, with its futuristic styling, hauling a big trailer behind it. The company claims that their model will “outperform any semi-truck in every category”, including “weight, acceleration, stopping, safety, and features”.

The Nikola One utilizes a hydrogen fuel cell, combined with electric motors rated at around 1,000 horsepower, and a 320kWh lithium-ion battery. As it stands, the semi has a 500-1000-mile (805-1,609km) range. It also promises to complete the 0 to 60mph (96km/h) acceleration in 30 seconds, under load. That’s about half the time required by a diesel-powered truck.

Unlimited miles and free hydrogen fuel are offered to buyers, as part of a special leasing program, which will set them back for $5,000 to $7,000 monthly, for a 72-month program. Owners will be able to trade the One when the contract expires, or when the semi clocks 1 million miles (1.6 million km).


  • The King

    This is the one to beat. I like the hydrogen aspect.

  • marioGTI

    Nice! Looks tons of times better than the frugly Tesla.

  • exeptor

    Simple math: Nikola One will cost (overall) between 360,000 and 504,000 USD. The average price for a diesel powered semi is ~150,000. Let’s assume that maintenance, insurance and taxes will be the same for EV and Diesel powered trucks (which of course will not be the reality). Then the difference (210,000 to 354,000) is the fuel. The average MPG for semi is ~7-8 mpg so we have 1,000,000/7=~142,000 gallons. The average price of a gallon of diesel is between 2.5 to 2.9. Let’s take 2.7 (as it may differs in the timeline of these 1,000,000 miles). So we have 142,000 * 2.7=~383,000. This means that even the highest price for Nikola One is justified and will lead (in an equal conditions) to a final $35,000 profit. Of course I’m not including the price of the truck after these 1,000,000 miles – we don’t have a statistics of how the hydrogen technology will age. What we know is that the battery might be in quite a shitty condition so they will most probably need to be replaced … which in case of 320 kWh might be an overkill for further trading. For a diesel trucks what we know is that after this kind of mileage the second hand cost will be around 40,000, which in case of Nikola goes to junkyard means that these $35,000 are automatically covered by the diesel one. Maybe at the end of the day the decision will be made with these two factors in mind: the prestige of the company which use the trucks (are you seeking for eco-friendly image or it doesn’t bothers you) and some future regulations and taxes (big for ICE vehicles and none for EV). Here we can talk a lot about factors like running time or even better cost of failure (when the semi needs to stay in the garage for repair) but I’m not an expert plus we don’t really know how reliable is the hydrogen tech.

    • danno

      Assumes equal reliability and no cost to replace a truck down because of break down. It isn’t a big stretch to see the Nik1 having worse reliability than trucks that have been in production for many years. Something to consider.

      • exeptor

        Maybe. Yet we have examples that new car companies can produce products with at least the same quality as the big ones – Tesla is an example (at least what I know about their cars). Toyota (let’s skip the fact that they are the biggest) with their Prius is an example that new technologies are not less reliable than the old ones – in Germany they started using it some years ago instead of E class not just for fuel economy but reliability too. Who knows – maybe Nikola will bring something solid. I hope so as this drives the progress. Everything else is more or less the same shit just a little bit polished.

        • danno

          For an eye opener on Tesla’s reliability problems that don’t make the news (wonder why), do a google search for “teslabears keefs complaints”.
          The amount of cars with unrepairable damage (write-off the car) due to poor quality suspension components is just staggering – in the hundreds.
          I’ve been leading edge project manager on well known electric truck launch in NA. Just a reliability nightmare. Call it 1st hand school of hard knocks.

          • exeptor

            Inside info is always a good thing. I hope things will change in the future.


    I was wondering what was going on with the truck. I’m glad to hear they are still working on it. Although, I doubt anyone in the trucking industry is going to care about 0 – 60 times under load. They’ll probably care more about hauling capacity.

  • willhaven

    I understand the appeal of hydrogen, but the infrastructure is severely lacking in the US (only 39 stations countrywide). This appears to be the largest bottleneck to the progress of hydrogen vehicles competing with electric or ICE. Either way, I hope this technology takes off.

  • Is it me or does the cab seating position seem astronomically high? Looks like twice the height of normal trucks…

    • Matt

      You’re not wrong, the whole truck is too high – notice the angle of the ‘regular’ trailer.

      • Joff

        That’s because the trailer is probably empty


    • Kyle Newberry

      Why? It would be far easier to retrofit existing gas stations with Hydrogen than building up the electric infrastructure to deal with the increased load from charging.


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