Perhaps there’s some magic when applying famous electrical engineer Nikola Tesla’s name to an electrified vehicle.
Salt Lake City-based startup, Nikola Motor, said in a press release it received 7,000 pre-orders last month for its Class 8 electric truck.
That translates to $10.5 million in reservation funds, and $2.3 billion in sales if all of the reservations go through.
Called “Nikola One,” the company says its electrified truck, which features a natural gas turbine range extender engine, is 10 to 15 years ahead of any other truck manufacturer in fuel efficiencies and emissions.
“We are the only OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to have a near zero emission truck and still outperform diesel trucks running at 80,000 pounds,” said Trevor Milton, founder and CEO.
To back up the company’s claims, on paper, the specifications are impressive.
The futuristic big-rig features a 2,000 horsepower turbine engine that sends power to a 320-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.
The truck’s battery never requires recharging because the turbine will charge it as the vehicle drives.
Six electric motors, one on each wheel, propel the semi.
The tractor features 3,700 pounds-feet of torque, and a range of 1,200 miles with a 150-gallon natural gas tank.
In addition to natural gas, the turbine engine can be configured to run on diesel or gasoline fuel.
Beyond the powertrains’s technology, the Nikola One offers the trucking industry’s first-ever independent suspension, along with torque vectoring for better ride and handling.
The truck will retail for $375,000, which is nearly double the price for a standard diesel semi-trailer. A leasing program costs $4,000 to $5,000 per month, depending on which truck configuration and options.
Nikola Motor is offering the first 5,000 customers who put down $1,500 to reserve a truck 100,000 gallons of free natural gas.
The free fuel offsets the monthly lease payments.
The above photo is a 3-D rendering, but a working prototype of the semi-truck will be revealed in Salt Lake City on December 2, 2016.
In order to make the prototype a reality, Nikola Motor will need a ton of money. The company says that it has completed a seed round of investing, and it is working on a series A round worth $300 million to be completed by December.
Hopefully, the company can meet production schedules, unlike that other electric vehicle maker that also uses Nikola Tesla’s name.