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RustyLugNut 05-10-2016 10:21 PM

Nikola Motor Company reveals its class 8 tractor design (EV/serial hybrid)
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There was some discussion in the past of some of this technology being used in a heavy haul application. They claim they have a prototype undergoing testing and expect to see production within three years.

Startup company targeting owner-operators with electric Class 8 truck | Overdrive - Owner Operators Trucking Magazine

Hersbird 05-10-2016 10:57 PM

Makes me want to become a truck driver.

NeilBlanchard 05-11-2016 11:27 AM

Their claim of 1,200 mile range with a 320kWh battery puts the energy consumption at ~267Wh/mile - which is better than many EV cars. That is a little hard to believe.

Edit: it is a hybrid, and it has a turbine generator. So, it uses an unknown amount of fuel to go the 1,200 miles.

Fat Charlie 05-11-2016 01:44 PM

Diesel-electrics have been doing quite well in long distance heavy haul applications for some time now.

seifrob 05-11-2016 01:51 PM

150 gallon fuel tank for CNG

RustyLugNut 05-11-2016 03:53 PM

This is being discussed on Sheppard's AeroTruck thread.
The technical issues of a gas turbine charging a battery pack is questionable from an efficiency standpoint. It does allow a small and light weight power pack to charge a very large battery pack. But, does a gas turbine which has near double the fuel consumption on a mass/power/time scale of a modern diesel engine have the ability to haul 80K pounds of freight the stated 1200 miles without plug in charging? I really don't think so. Some simple math doesn't think so.

One interesting claim from the Nikola website is their procurement of natural gas wells to provide 1 million miles of free fuel to the first 5000 buyers. This would certainly offset their premium cost over current top Class 8 tractors.

I feel Sheppard's approach is far more practical now and in the near future. If you take the AeroTruck and use a smaller 11-12 L diesel engine with a reasonable electric boosting drive, you get the best of both worlds in that you can cruise on diesel engine power alone in flats and low loads and still have excess stored power to drive uphills with the ability to regain some of that energy on the downhills. Such a truck could happen NOW.

jcp123 05-11-2016 04:47 PM

I'd sign up to try one. If anyone here can get press loaners, I have the CDL!

Hersbird 05-11-2016 06:05 PM

A gas turbine can be more efficient then a diesel when used as a powered for a generator. That is how I read this. The electic motors at the wheels are powered by a battery. The CNG turbine just trys to keep the battery charged. In 1200 miles both the batteries and the CNG is empty and it needs charged and refuled. The driver would be at his limit anyway before that point. Many heavy trucks are used less then 500 miles and may be able to go pure electic.
As pointed out, this is how a locomotive works but also how a submarine is powered.

Grant-53 05-11-2016 08:01 PM

The Rankine cycle turbine can be more efficient than a diesel piston engine but emissions standards for NOx and manufacturing costs have been barriers in the past. The concept has merit even if CNG is not yet available at every truck stop. We have a local station for CNG in Sayre, PA and fleets in the region have their own fueling facilities. GE has put out bids for injectors to use CNG for their locomotive engines. Starting and braking are the high torque operations that benefit from electric motors. Hybrid pick up trucks may be in the offing too. Farmers and construction fleet operators are very cost conscious.

The_Jed 05-11-2016 08:35 PM


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