Nikola has taken a major step toward bringing its extended-range electric semi-trailer truck to market. The company announced on Tuesday that Buckeye, Arizona will be home to its future manufacturing facility.
The American startup debuted its One electric semi in December 2016. At that time, Nikola said production would start in 2020. The latest update from Nikola states that a new 500-acre, one million-square foot facility will bring more than $1 billion in investments by 2024, though there isn’t a more specific production timeline.
The Nikola One semi uses a 320-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, while a hydrogen fuel cell acts as the range extender (in some markets the company will offer a natural gas-powered internal combustion engine as the range extender). Six electric motors drive the Class 8 truck.
At its debut, Nikola said 800 to 1,200 miles of range is possible with a fully charged battery and a full tank of hydrogen. And, to combat the lack of hydrogen infrastructure in the United States, Nikola plans to build its own network of 364 fueling stations starting this year. Nikola-owned solar farms will provide the energy used to generate the hydrogen.
The company said it chose Arizona due to the state’s engineering schools, educated workforce, and geographic location close to major markets for the One semi and other future products. Nikola plans to introduce a second truck following One production, appropriately dubbed the Two. The second truck is a smaller more affordable option compared to the One.
Despite the major step toward production, Daimler has already beat rivals to electric truck production. Last September, Daimler revealed the Fuso eCanter. The first production units were delivered in 2017 ahead of the start of mass production in 2019.