Nikola Motor Company — called the Tesla Motors of the trucking industry for its electric vehicles and that famous first name — announced a whopping 7,000 reservations with deposits for its electric hybrid “Nikola One” semi-truck today. If all of the orders are actualized, that represents $2.3 billion in revenue since the model was announced last month.
Intense reservation hype over a yet-to-be-seen electric vehicle probably sounds like deja vu to you, and for good reason. Nikola Motor is pulling a move straight out of the playbook of the more famous company named after Nikola Tesla. Only, Nikola Motor isn’t trying to bring electric vehicles to the masses, it is trying to use electric vehicles to bring products to the masses.
“We believe we will pass the current market leaders like Daimler, PACCAR, Volvo and Navistar in sales orders within the next 12-24 months,” Nikola Motor CEO Trevor Milton claims in a press release. He also says that some of the top class 8 dealerships in America have reached out and are willing to either “add our brand” or move away from their existing brands.
The Nikola One costs $375,000, or can be leased for $4,000 to $5,000 per month. It focuses on a different market than Tesla, but it surely isn’t shying away from the comparisons.
The Nikola One isn’t entirely electric. It has a fuel turbine that feeds the 320 kWh battery pack. With a full tank of gas, the Nikola One will be able to travel 1,200 miles before it needs to be filled, and the company says it will be half the cost per mile of current diesel semis.
“Our technology is 10-15 years ahead of any other OEM (original equipment manufacturer) in fuel efficiencies, MPG and emissions,” Milton writes. “We are the only OEM to have a near zero-emission truck and still outperform diesel trucks running at 80,000 pounds.”
The Nikola One will use cheaper natural gas instead of diesel. The gas fuels a generator that then powers the electric motors moving the wheels. It’s not fully electric, but not even Elon Musk was able to reach his goal with his early models.
Nikola Motor Company certainly benefits from the electric vehicle hype Tesla Motors generates. A hyped-up reservation period is one clear way to get investors’ attention, and Tesla has shown that vehicle start-ups can hold their own against established automobile companies. Now Nikola Motors just has to hold on to all those fully refundable $1,500 reservations.