Nikola Motor claims a major breakthrough on the battery, comes with larger grain of salt

Nikola Motor, better known for its fuel cell semi trucks, claims a big breakthrough of the battery with much higher energy density, but you should take the requirement with a large grain of salt.

The Arizona-based company is planning to use battery packs in the larger hydrogen semi-trucks and all-electric powertrains in smaller and smaller vehicles.

Now they claim to have a new battery with groundbreaking performance for the vehicles.

In a press release, Nikola makes some bold claims:

  • Nikola's battery-electric trucks could now run 800 miles fully loaded between charges
  • Nikola trucks could weigh 5,000 pounds. less than the competitors whose same battery size was maintained
  • Nikola's hydrogen electric fuel cell cars could exceed 1[ads1]000 miles between stop and peak of 15 minutes
  • The world's first standalone electrode car battery
  • Energy density up to 1100 watt hours per kg at a material level and 500 watt hours per kg at a production cell level included; casing, terminals and separator – more than double current lithium-ion battery cells
  • Cycled over 2000 times with acceptable performance
  • 40% reduction in weight compared to lithium-ion cells
  • 50% material cost reduction per kWh compared to lithium-ion batteries

Nikola claims "a record energy density of 1,100 watt hours per kg at the material level and 500 watts hours per kg at the production cell level."

They say it would roughly result in a doubling of the range of electric vehicles without increasing the size and weight of the battery.

Trevor Milton, CEO of Nikola Motor Company, commented on the announcement:

“This is the biggest advancement we have seen in the battery world. We are not talking about small improvements; we're talking about doubling the cell phone's battery capacity. We are talking about doubling the range of BEVs and hydrogen electric vehicles worldwide. "

The company states that they have" a letter of intent to acquire a world-class battery technology team ". They cannot announce the acquisition until next year, according to their press release.

Nikola says they will "display the batteries that are being charged and discharged ahead of the crowd at Nikola World," which they plan to hold until the fall of 2020.

Electrek's Take

As with any battery breakthrough, take it with a grain of salt, but I will take this with a large grain of salt.

We're talking about Nikola Motor here.

First, the lawsuit against patent trolling against Tesla is just ridiculous, and the fact that they think it's a good idea to pursue, which shows poor character and weakness.

Second, Nikola first announced plans for a hybrid electric and semi-natural gas truck 4 years ago.

They later changed the plans of hybrid battery electric and fuel cell hydrogen trucks with plans for a massive hydrogen supply chain and fuel station network.

As we have said before, hydrogen fuel cells are abo ut 3x less efficient than battery-electric at best. It mostly serves to preserve the same supply chain model as fossil fuels.

Later, Tesla unveiled its all-electric semi-truck which proved that the battery-electric Class 8 vehicles were viable and that changed many people's perspectives.

Nikola Motors mocked Tesla's efforts – claiming that they could not reach the range they claimed only on battery-electric.

Now they claim they can break through this battery.

I'm not saying it's impossible, but I will believe it when I see it. And by that I mean to see it in a viable volume production product because it's not the same as a prototype.

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