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pete c 11-29-2017 09:36 PM

Battle of the e semis
Nikola vs Tesla.

Nikola- fuel cell, battery buffer, 6 motor all wheel drive, no diffs, independent suspension.

Tesla- Basically, a big ass version of an electric car. A few bazillion batteries and a big motor or two. Not sure if they use diffs or not.

I watched an hour long video put out by Nikola. I was quite impressed. They had their fully independent suspension done by the company that does the suspensions for the latest generation of military heavy trucks. Some pretty impressive stuff.

A nice feature of the Nikola is that GPS can know when hills are coming up. If it is a long downhill, it can run the battery pack down some so that it will take full advantage of regen. With the Tesla, you start with a full pack. If you have a substantial downhill run on the full battery, there is no place to put regened power.

Independent AWD is definitely an advantage especially in places where traction/roads aren't so good. I like the idea of a decent sized battery pack that is never run down too low. You can get a lot of life out of these things if you aren't running them into the ground. No diffs=better efficiency and less stuff to break.

The question that remains is can they put together the necessary H2 infrastructure. Can such a large fuel cell work reliably? Can it be built at a reasonable price?

As for the Tesla, we shall see. I still have one unanswered question. Is there enough lithium out there to build literally billions, if not trillions of batteries.

My feeling is that the fuel cell/battery buffer idea is a good one IF it proves financially feasible. If not, earlier versions of the Nikola using natural gas turbines might work. Turbines have a long history of use, we have lots of LNG and an existing infrastructure and they are greener than a diesel generator, which is something also worth looking at.

Ecky 11-30-2017 10:30 AM

Tesla has 4 motors and no diffs, and also has independent AWD.

EDIT: What pricepoint is Nikola aiming for? Tesla's release stated 150k, vs ~120k for a diesel.

pete c 11-30-2017 08:27 PM

The Tesla is not AWD. It's steer axle is not driven. The Nikola is. Wasn't aware the Tesla was full independent. They were making a big deal about it, so I figured the Tesla wasn't.

Not really sure if the driven front axle is a benefit at all. Might actually degrade steering feel.

freebeard 12-01-2017 03:03 AM

It may depend on how evolvable the respective technology bases are. Improving battery and charger technology vs metallic hydrogen storage.

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