Axle and fuel cell technology at heart of eTruck

| Transport

Zero emission Nikola fuel-celled electric long haul truck
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The Nikola electric articulated lorries have been developed using eAxle powertrain and fuel cell technology from Bosch.

By 2021, the Nikola Motor Company will bring to market the Nikola One and Two, a class 8 hydrogen-electric truck lineup that will deliver more than 1,000 horsepower and 2,000 ft. lbs. of torque – nearly double the horsepower of any articulated lorry on the road – all with “zero local emissions”.

At the heart of the Nikola truck lineup is a new commercial vehicle powertrain achieved thanks to a development partnership between Nikola and Bosch. The organisations developed the powertrain from the ground up. Bosch’s eAxle expertise has enabled Nikola to move quickly on an aggressive path to bring its electric truck to market.

“Bosch is an incubator of electromobility systems. No matter whether at established OEMs or start-ups, Bosch is accelerating development and helps achieve fast breakthroughs on the market,“ said Dr Markus Heyn, member of the Bosch board of management responsible for the Commercial Vehicle Organisation

“We have been aggressively pursuing our goal of bringing the most advanced articulated lorry ever built to market,” said Nikola Founder and CEO Trevor Milton. “The powertrain requires an innovative and flexible partner able to adapt quickly to the speed of our team. Bosch has empowered us to come to market quickly with automotive-grade hardware and software so our vision can become a reality.”

The eAxle developed by Bosch is a scalable, modular platform with the motor, power electronics and transmission in one compact unit. This makes it suitable for vehicles of all kinds, from small passenger cars to light trucks. Nikola and Bosch will use this know-how to commercialise the world’s first true dual-motor commercial-vehicle eAxle for a long-haul truck.

The eAxle will use proven commercial vehicle electric machine technology and SMG (separate motor generator) motors from Bosch. The technology vision of Nikola and integration expertise from Bosch will enable the Nikola trucks to realise unprecedented targets for e-machine efficiency.

The eAxles will be paired with a custom-designed fuel cell system – also being developed jointly between Nikola and Bosch – designed to deliver benchmark vehicle range. The overall vehicle controls will also be jointly developed based upon Bosch’s vehicle control software and hardware. The Nikola Bosch zero local emission powertrain is designed to achieve high performance at a competitive total cost of ownership to traditional powertrains.

“Breakthrough mobility technology requires visionary targets, speed to-market and disciplined structure to ensure long-term success,” Heyn said. “Together with Nikola we are pushing ourselves to realise new levels of technological achievement and market penetration.”

Bosch and Nikola will also jointly develop the overall powertrain system for the Nikola lineup, which will include the safety concept and vehicle electrical architecture. By using advanced simulation technologies throughout the whole development process, from system layout to testing and validation, the Nikola One and Two will launch with one of the most optimised and state-of-the-art system designs and vehicle controls in the mobility sector.

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