Arizona-based electric truck manufacturer Nikola says it has begun serial production of its battery-electric Tre semi-trailer trucks.
Though not the first Nikola Tre semi-trucks to be produced at the company’s manufacturing facility in Coolidge, Arizona, it marks the beginning of serial production.
“We began production of the Tre BEV on March 21 here in Coolidge and today we’re celebrating this milestone and the initial shipments of trucks to our customers,” said Mark Russell, Nikola’s CEO.
“In 2022, we’re moving forward with every aspect of our business. Next year, fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV) are planned to be added to the manufacturing mix. We are focused on delivering vehicles and generating revenue.”
Nikola delivered the first of its Tre BEV trucks to one of Southern California’s leading trucking companies late last year, Total Transportation Services (TTS), who began trialling two battery and two fuel cell trucks.
The trial, if deemed successful by TTS, could lead to the purchase of up to 30 battery and 70FCEVs in 2023.
Meanwhile, in January, Nikola began pilot operations of its FCEV Tre with brewing giant Anheuser-Busch.
The Nikola Tre BEV is designed for deliveries of up to 560-kilometres thanks to a 753kWh battery pack delivering 645-horsepower and a charge time from 10% to 80% at 240kW of 2 hours, the truck can reach a top speed of 120km/h.
Meanwhile, the Nikola Tre FCEV, which is due in 2023, boasts a range of up to 800-kilometres and a refuelling time of 20 minutes.
Start of Tre serial production for Nikola marks a significant step for the company which has suffered through a number of setbacks but has remained consistent in the delivery of its promised long-range zero-emission trucks.
After an early surge in the company’s share price after its June 2020 listing, the company saw its shares plummet after its founder, Trevor Milton, was accused, resigned, and later indicted over lies he told regarding the company’s technology and market readiness.
Nevertheless, Nikola has managed to rack up a series of supply and investment deals, highlighting the underlying promise of the company’s technology and production abilities.
Phase 1 of the Coolidge manufacturing facility in Arizona has a production capacity of 2,500 trucks, while the Phase 2 assembly expansion area has begun and is expected to be completed in 2023 and will boost production capacity up to 20,000 trucks per year.
It’s also worth highlighting Nikola’s competitiveness against its peers. Unsurprisingly, thoughts immediately turn toTesla, whose own Tesla Semi has been repeatedly delayed due to battery cell shortages and other issues.
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.