Over 7 000 Amer­i­can truck­ers have rushed to or­der the in­cred­i­ble Nikola 1 jet-elec­tric truck.

Work­ing pro­to­type of in­cred­i­ble, hy­brid jet-tur­bine-elec­tric truck to be ready on December 2

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE - AL­WYN VILJOEN

AF­TER all the scep­tics, Wheels in­cluded, ba­si­cally re­acted with “let the buyer be­ware” when Nikola Mo­tor Com­pany announced its in­cred­i­ble, hy­brid jet-tur­bine-elec­tric truck for free to the first 5 000 buy­ers, founder Trevor Mil­ton has now announced a work­ing pro­to­type will be ready on December 2.

Well over 7 000 Amer­i­can truck­ers did not share the scep­tics’ reser­va­tions, in­stead giv­ing Mil­ton over $2,3 bil­lion (R33 bil­lion) in re­fund­able de­posits to be among the first 5 000 to get his mil­lion mile free fuel of­fer.

Not that the Nikola 1 will use a lot of fuel if and when it gets built. Like the drivetrain of the Wright­speed trucks, Mil­ton said the Nikola 1 will use a tur­bine that runs on any com­bustible fluid or gas, but uses very lit­tle of it to keep the elec­tric truck’s bat­ter­ies charged.

“Our tech­nol­ogy is 10-15 years ahead of any other Orig­i­nal Equip­ment Man­u­fac­turer (OEM) in fuel ef­fi­cien­cies, MPG and emis­sions,” Mil­ton said. “We are the only OEM to have a near zero emis­sion truck [that can] still out-per­form diesel trucks run­ning at 36 tons. To have over 7 000 reser­va­tions to­talling more than $2,3 bil­lion, with five months re­main­ing un­til our un­veil­ing cer­e­mony, is un­prece­dented,” said Mil­ton.

What makes Mil­ton a visionary is that he is not sell­ing a truck, but trans­port as a ser­vice through the Nikola 1 truck leas­ing pro­gramme.

The truck is cur­rently listed for $375 000 (R5,9 mil­lion), but for $4 000 to $5 000 per month, de­pend­ing on which truck con­fig­u­ra­tion and op­tions the cus­tomer chooses, the Nikola 1 driver can look for­ward to saving over $400 000 in diesel that the av­er­age truck burns, plus over $100 000 in main­te­nance costs over 1,6 mil­lion kilo­me­tres or 1 000 000 miles.

Mil­ton pre­dicted Nikola 1 will see more sales or­ders than the cur­rent mar­ket lead­ers like Daim­ler, Pac­car, Volvo and Nav­is­tar by 2018, adding some of the top truck deal­ers in the U.S. have al­ready called to add the Nikola 1 to their sta­ble or move away from their ex­ist­ing brands.

“Just imag­ine the or­ders that will come in once we be­gin tak­ing dealer ap­pli­ca­tions.

“We have shown other OEMs and their share­hold­ers why they should be ner­vous about Nikola Mo­tor Com­pany,” said Mil­ton.

With $2,3 bil­lion in hand, Nikola Mo­tor Com­pany has al­ready com­pleted a seed round of fund­ing and is next work­ing on rais­ing $300 mil­lion by December 2016, when it prom­ises to have at least one truck that the scep­tics can see on the road.

PHOTO: NIKOLA MO­TOR COM­PANY

The Nikola 1 truck still ex­ists only as a screen saver, but over 7 000 Amer­i­can truck­ers be­lieve the in­cred­i­ble elec­tric trucks will be­come cred­i­ble by December.

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