We should’ve probably seen it coming. After Nikola Motor Company, a new entrant to the electric vehicle industry, announced its ambitious plan to become the Tesla of trucking, and Mack Trucks showed off its new electric garbage truck featuring a powertrain from a Tesla co-founder at the latest WasteExpo 2016, could Tesla be far behind?
Tesla CEO, Elon Musk just unveiled his second “master plan,” which among other things talks about venturing into cargo transport by developing a heavy-duty truck. Tesla’s new truck, which Musk referred to as the Tesla Semi (yeah, apparently not much brainstorming went into the name) would be “really fun to operate” though he didn’t go into the exact technical details.
On the other hand, Nikola has been a bit more explicit in providing details about its upcoming 2,000-horsepower semi-truck, named Nikola One, which will be equipped with a 320 kWh battery pack, but achieve most of its expected 1,200 miles of range using a “sophisticated, hi-tech natural gas turbine” that charges the battery when the truck is on the move. Nikola also plans to build a network of 50 CNG stations across the US to support its electric-CNG hybrid trucks.
As far as Mack Trucks’ electric garbage truck goes, the electric variant is a front-wheel drive with a powertrain from Wrightspeed, Inc., created by Tesla co-founder Ian Wright. The truck’s batteries recharge by regenerative braking or a built-in turbine running on diesel or natural gas.
While Musk did sound as if Tesla’s pickup is in the advanced stages of development, the Tesla Semi would only be unveiled next year and when the truck actually becomes available is anybody’s guess.