By James Raia
Startup truck maker Nikola hopes to challenge Tesla for electric vehicle prominence. It gained further momentum recently in a unique but welcoming way. It just received an order for 2,500 garbage trucks.
Republic Services, based in Phoenix, Ariz., and the countryâ€™s second-largest recycling and waste service provider, placed the order. Itâ€™s expandable to 5,000 trucks.
According to a press release, the electric trucks are expected to use Nikolaâ€™s Tre powertrain system and offer 150 miles per charge. The battery pack is touted to carry 720kWh of energy storage and the powertrain will be software limited to 1,000 horsepower.
â€śThis is a game-changer,â€ť Nikola CEO Mark Russell said in a statement. â€śRefuse truck customers have always ordered chassis from truck OEMs and bodies from other suppliers. Nikola has fully integrated the chassis and body, covering both with a single factory warranty. Trucks will include both automated side loaders and front-end loaders â€” all of which will be zero-emission.â€ť
Nikola recently began taking orders for its pending Badger electric pickup truck. It will provide RVers with another choice of towing vehicle.
According to Nikola, the Badger will have 906 horsepower, 980 ft-lbs of torque, and a towing capacity of more than 8000 pounds. Itâ€™ll be equipped with a 160.0-kWh battery pack and an optional 120.0-kW fuel cell. The Badger will seat five, have a 15-kW power outlet for hooking up tools or camping equipment and, the company says, will be able to climb a 50 percent grade without stalling.
The Badger will be available in the battery version with a 300-mile range and the fuel cell version with a 600-range range.
James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.