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Nikola Vs Tesla – Battle Of The Electric HGV’s

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Nikola Tesla was a great man, who successfully harnessed the power of electricity and revolutionised the way our electrical supply systems work. And even though he had been dead for over 75 years, his legacy lives on. Particularly through two car companies, each of whom has each taken a part of the great engineers’ name, and used it to create electric vehicles. At first, it was just cars, with Tesla leading the way in consumer grade, high-end electric cars. But now, both Tesla and Nikola have branched out into a new and more challenging arena – electric HGVs. Which forces us to ask – how do the two giants measure up?

Tesla’s HGV

About this time last year, we wrote a post all about the new Tesla HGV. The unveiling as truly something to behold. The Tesla electric HGV is something of a monster – huge, sleek and silver, looking like something right out of a science fiction film.  And that’s before you even get under the bonnet. Tesla’s state of the art electric HGV is to be powered by 4 independent stationary electric motors, which will be attached to the rear axles. These motors give the GV the power to go from 0 to 60 in just 20 seconds, even with a full load on board. It also boasts a long charge range, and a truly eco-friendly stamp of approval. One of the biggest selling points for haulage firms was the high capacity batteries it runs on, which allows 3.3amp cycles and a lifespan of 5,000 recharges. This is leagues above Tesla’s consumer electric cars, which have a batter lifespan of around 1,000 recharges.

You can read more about what we think of the Tesla HGV in one of our previous blogs, here.

Nikola’s HGV

So what about the other half of the Nikola Tesla namesake? While they aren’t the same company, both Nikola and Tesla do a lot of the same things, so there is some pretty fierce rivalry between the companies. Around the same time Tesla announced their electric HGV, Nikola came out with one of their own electric HGV. Looks wise, the Nikola HGV is quite similar to the Tesla one, but with a few twists unique to Nikola. The big difference is in the engine – the thing that drives the HGV. Where Tesla uses stationary, 100% electric batteries, Nikola’s HGV will run on hydrogen fuel powered cells, along with a 320-kWh battery pack, which has been co-designed by Bosch. This will give the HGV over 750 miles between reach refill and reduce fuelling times to 15 minutes. To support this, Nikola will be expanding their hydrogen fuelling points across the US over the next year. The Nikola HGV’s will cost around $375,000 and is set to be launched in 2019, with no deposit needed.

The Legal Battle

We commented earlier that the Nikola and the Tesla HGV’s look very similar. Well, this hasn’t gone unnoticed, and Nikola have taken exception to that. In fact, earlier this year Nikola hit Tesla with a lawsuit to the tune of $2 billion or patent infringement. They based their claim on three things:

  • The similarity of the fuselage design
  • The similarity of the wrap-around windshield design
  • The similarity of the mid-entry door design

Nikola claims that Tesla has stolen and imitated these elements from its patented design. And maybe that’s true. But this might also be a case of ‘patent trolling’. This is when a company gains or uses patents, not for the protection and production of the brand or goods, but for licensing and litigation purposes. There is an argument for both sides here, but the likelihood is that Nikola aren’t going to win this one. The case is still ongoing though, so we will keep you updated on how that goes.

So Which Is Better?

So, which is the better electric HGV choice? Well, we can’t tell you that, because there is no easy answer. It’s all down to personal preference, price point and performance. All we can suggest is that you look at the specs and the companies closely, and be sure you’re making an educated decision. At The HGV Training Centre, we love the fact that there is now a range of electric HGV options out there, at different price points, allowing every haulage firm to benefit from this new technology. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the market, and as the release dates or these electric behemoths gets closer, we’ll be keeping you updated to.

To find out more about the electric HGV options, or how you can become an HGV driver, just get in touch with the team today.

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