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Nikola Tesla – The Battle Of The Electric HGVs

Nikola Tesla was one 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 have each taken a part of the great engineers’ name, and used it to create electric vehicles. That in itself caused a lot of controversies. But now, both brands have announced their plans to create all-electric HGV’s to add to the growing electric car market. So now, it’s a battle to the finish for the electric HGV’s.

In The Left Corner – Tesla

First up we have the Tesla electric HGV. Tesla unveiled their electric HGV around this time last year, and it did not disappoint. A huge chrome silver beast, it reminded us a lot of the HGV’s seen in science fiction films like iRobot. Though these ones won’t go mad and ram you off the road! In all seriousness, it’s a pretty impressive vehicle, powered by 4 independent electric motors attached to the rear axle. These battery packs give the Tesla HGV the raw power it needs to go from 0 to 60 in just 20 seconds, even with a full load in the trailer. There isn’t a drop of fuel anywhere near it – it runs on high capacity batteries with 3.3amp cycles and a total lifespan of 5,000 recharges (which is a lot better than their 1,000 recharge consumer batteries!)

You can read more about the details of the Tesla HGV in our previous blog, here.

In The Right Corner – Nikola

In direct competition, we have the Nikola electric HGV. Announced at around the same time, the visual differences between the Nikola and the Tesla are pretty few and far between. In fact, almost all of the noticeable differences are hidden away under the bonnet. While Tesla relies exclusively on batteries, Nikola is using a combination of hydrogen fuel powered motors and 320-kWh battery packs (which have been co-developed with Bosch). This combination means the Nikola One and Nikola Two have a run range of over 750 miles, and refills only take 15 minutes. To help support this, Nikola will be investing in expanding their base of hydrogen fuelling points across the US. The Nikola One is due to come to the market in 2019, with no deposit required to reserve one and a final price tag of $375,000.

The Bad Blood

This battle is just another blow in the long-standing rivalry between the two companies, who have always bee ad odds with each other. Do you remember we mentioned that the Nikola One and the Tesla HGV look remarkably similar on the outside? Well, Nikola have taken offence to that, and have slapped Tesla with a $2 billion lawsuit for damages due to patent infraction. The complaint covers 3 key areas:

  • The design of the fuselage
  • The design of the windscreen wraps
  • The mid-entry door system

Nikola are claiming that Tesla has stolen these designs from them and that by using them they could cause damage to Nikola’s brand. However, some believe that this is a simple case of ‘patent trolling’. This is (thankfully) a pretty rare occurrence, when a business will obtain or use a patent, not to protect and produce their own goods, but for licensing reasons, or to use it in litigation. If this is the case, Nikola are very unlikely to win this fight, and the bad blood will continue.

The Result?

So, who wins the big battle? Well, no one really. Pre-order numbers are still flooding in for both brands, despite their constant sniping at each other. If you’re looking into which option would be better to drive, or to operate as a fleet vehicle, then our best advice would be to really look a the specs and the companies in detail, and then choose whichever suits your method, budget and needs the best. One is not better than the other – it’s all a matter of preference and requirements. We would love to drive both and will be trying them out when they go on sale, so keep an eye out for more info then!

If you would like to find out more about electric HGV’s, or how to start your journey to becoming an HGV driver, just get in touch with us today.

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