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Nikola Releases Interesting Technical Details of the Tre FCEV

The two Nikola Tre FCEV alpha prototypes are still carrying beer for AB InBev in California, powered only by hydrogen. Until March 23, they had run 8,000 miles and hauled over 1.5 million pounds (680,000 kilograms) of product. We’re well informed about these customer tests the company is performing but still want more information on the trucks themselves. Thanks to the company’s Capital Markets Day, we now do.
Nikola describes some technical aspects of the Tre FCEV 10 photos
Nikola Tre FCEV is being tested by AB InBevNikola Tre FCEV is being tested by AB InBevNikola Tre FCEV is being tested by AB InBevNikola Tre alpha prototypes refuel with hydrogen and head toward CaliforniaNikola Tre alpha prototypes refuel with hydrogen and head toward CaliforniaNikola Tre alpha prototypes refuel with hydrogen and head toward CaliforniaNikola Tre FCEV is being tested by Biagi Bros.BYD 8TT and Nikola Tre FCEVNikola describes some technical aspects of the Tre FCEV
All FCEVs are closer to BEVs than most BEV advocates would care to admit: they also have a battery pack to power the motors. In the Tre FCEV’s case, there are two battery packs of 70 kWh of usable capacity each, which makes it count on 140 kWh. If the truck allows for charging, even at low speeds, this Nikola could drive for a while without spending hydrogen. In other words, it would be a fantastic plug-in hybrid.

If that is not the case, the Tre FCEV has three backpack tanks and two saddle tanks, all of them made of Type 4 composite. They are considered the lightest and most expensive gas tanks commercially available and are made of CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced polymer).

Although the document does not reveal their capacity, we have calculated it to be at least 70 kilograms. More recently, Livio Gambone stated that these 700-bar (10,153-psi) tanks could get 100 kg of hydrogen in 10 to 15 minutes. Nikola’s hydrogen storage director said that this would give them diesel parity regarding refueling times.

That means a lot less downtime waiting to recharge, which is the most important part of fuel cell technology for trucks: they can work for much more time than if they were powered solely by battery packs. Fast charging harms these components, which makes battery pack swapping the only feasible solution for battery-electric trucks to avoid downtime. CAMC already sells some trucks with this solution in China, but they still have to deal with the lower load capacity due to the heavy battery packs, something that the fuel cell truck addresses.

The five hydrogen tanks in the Tre FCEV feed two fuel cells, each of them able to produce 100 kW. These 200 kW are used solely to replenish the battery packs, which power the e-axle. The total continuous power it delivers to the Tre FCEV is 480 kW (644 hp).

According to Nikola, beta prototypes will soon be built and put in validation tests. Gama prototypes are expected to hit assembly lines at the beginning of 2023, and pre-series production should start in the second quarter of next year. If everything goes according to plan, the company should begin delivering the first Tre FCEVs to customers close to the fourth quarter of 2023 in the U.S. and in early 2024 in Europe.

 
 
 
 
 

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