• Nikola Motor Company and Bosch develop the commercial vehicle powertrain of the future
  • Development partnership will bring to market fuel cell and commercial vehicle eAxle for Nikola class 8 hydrogen-electric truck
  • Bosch offers automotive-grade hardware and software for aggressive launch schedule - production by 2021
  • Electrification incubator: Bosch's expertise and portfolio help start-ups go from concept to execution

By 2021, Nikola Motor Company will bring to market the One and Two, a class 8 hydrogen-electric truck line that will deliver more than 1,000 horsepower and 2,000 ft lb of torque – nearly double the horsepower of any semi-truck on the road – plus with "zero local emissions". The truck has a new commercial vehicle powertrain achieved thanks to a development partnership between Nikola and Bosch.

The two organisations re-imagined the powertrain from scratch using the supplier's eAxle expertise.

"Bosch is an incubator of electromobility solutions. No matter whether at established OEMs or start-ups, [we are] accelerating development and [helping] achieve fast breakthroughs on the market," said Markus Heyn, Bosch's Commercial Vehicle Organisation head.

"We have been aggressively pursuing our goal of bringing the most advanced semi-truck ever built to market," said Nikola founder and CEO Trevor Milton. "The powertrain requires an innovative and flexible partner able to adapt quickly to the speed of our team. Bosch has empowered us to come to market quickly with automotive-grade hardware and software so our vision can become a reality."

The eAxle developed by Bosch is a scalable, modular platform with the motor, power electronics and transmission in one compact unit. This makes it suitable for vehicles of all kinds, from small passenger cars to light trucks. The partners will use it to commercialise what they claim is the world's first true dual motor, commercial vehicle eAxle for a long haul truck.

The eAxle will use proven Bosch commercial vehicle electric machine technology and SMG (separate motor generator) motors.

"The technology vision of Nikola and integration expertise from Bosch will enable the trucks to realise unprecedented targets for e-machine efficiency," a joint statement claimed.

The eAxles will be paired with a custom designed fuel cell system – also being developed jointly – designed to deliver benchmark vehicle range. The overall vehicle controls will also be jointly developed based upon Bosch's vehicle control software and hardware. The zero local emission powertrain is designed to achieve segment leading performance at a competitive total cost of ownership compared to traditional powertrains.

Bosch and Nikola will also jointly develop the overall powertrain system for truck line which will include the safety concept and vehicle electrical architecture.

"By using simulation technology throughout the whole development process, from system layout to testing and validation, the trucks will launch with one of the most optimised and state-of-the-art system designs and vehicle controls in the mobility sector," the partners claimed.