Just two years since Italian truck and van manufacturer Iveco and US electric vehicle specialist Nikola announced their cooperation, the two companies have opened their first new factory, in Ulm, Germany, with a second already in build in Coolidge, Arizona. The site in Ulm, which in the past housed various Iveco heavy truck models, has been completely rebuilt to assemble the Nikola Tre models.
The production line has been designed to build up to 1,000 heavy trucks per year, per shift, which could lead to up to 3,000 vehicles on a three-shift basis. Initially the facility will assemble two trucks a week in early 2022, rising to a truck a day by 2023. Early vehicles will be predominantly built for the North American market, until the Arizona site comes on stream.
The Nikola Tre tractor is based on Iveco’s S-Way platform, with a 753kWh battery pack that can be recharged in as little as 120 minutes. The battery delivers a motor power of around 645hp and the truck offers a 560km driving range. During the factory opening event, Nikola also unveiled a Tre hydrogen fuel cell prototype, for longer distance use. Offering a 10-30 minute refuelling time, the FCEV (fuel cell electric vehicle) is said to offer a range of up to 800km.
Both vehicles use an E-axle, designed and built by Iveco’s sister company FPT in cooperation with Bosch. Nikola has also been working with a host of suppliers to deliver rapid recharging and hydrogen supply facilities across the US. In Europe, Iveco and Nikola have signed a memorandum of understanding with Hamburg Port Authority, that will see up to 25 Nikola Tre trucks entering into trials within the port during 2022. The trucks will be built to the US standard, but with special permission to operate within the facility.