Earlier this month, the Nikola Motor Company unveiled a prototype for a hydrogen-fueled semi. The hydrogen fuel cell contained in the vehicle is going to signal a mass production of electric trucks, starting in 2020. The capital and incentive to develop electric truck came down from Thompson Machinery, a Caterpillar dealership which intends on being the first place to offer sales and service on these new electric trucks. But what does this mean for the industry at large?

The Specs On These Electric Trucks

The electric trucks contain a hydrogen fuel cell, which can give the vehicles a range of up to 1200 miles before needing to be recharged. The electric trucks will be able to deliver over 1000 horsepower, and achieve 0-60 mph within 30 seconds. All of this, including 2000 ft/lbs of torque, with zero emissions. The first run of electric trucks will be manufactured by Fitzgerald Glider Kits, and the initial 5500 trucks will hit the market sometime starting in 2020.

Getting Things In Place

Having electric trucks on the road will signal a move toward a cleaner freight industry across the United States. However, before we can sever our reliance on petroleum, the logistics of fueling and maintenance must be put into place. Along with the electric trucks themselves, there are plans for a large production and deployment of solar and hydrogen charging/fueling stations across the United States. These charging stations will create a network so that electric trucks can make large hauls throughout the country, with possible plans to make them available to fleet owners, as well.

The Potential Financial Impact

With a range of up to 1200 miles per charge, electric trucks could save fleet owners and independent owner-operators a lot of money every year, which would otherwise go toward traditional petroleum stations. However, this does not mean that the initial cash outlay to acquire even one electric truck – not to mention a whole fleet – will be inexpensive. If the current electric car industry is anything to go by, the cost will be prohibitive. Additionally, making the switch to electric trucks may meet with some resistance due to the financial impact. Yet, we could see large tax incentives for drivers and fleet owners willing to make the leap to cleaner transportation. As of now, this is all speculation, but we should get a clearer picture as we get closer to the production date of 2020.

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