Nikola Motors produced a hydrogen electric Class 8 semi truck concept which was revealed at an event near downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. The initial idea was that the truck that was named Nikola One becomes a fully electric vehicle with a “fuel agnostic” turbine engine. However, various things changed and now we have a prototype that comes with a hydrogen cell-powered range extender. Although many people are skeptic about this truck, Nikola Motors managed to assemble one that is fully operable.

2020 Nikola One Exterior

The look of this Class 8 semi truck is unique, and we haven’t seen anything like it. The exterior had to be different because of the hydrogen/battery powertrain. The side windows are huge, and they are separated from the windshield by A-pillars whereas we also have a sloping hood which allows a driver to see the road better.

A lot of carbon fiber has been used during the production of this semi because it had to be as lighter as possible. Moreover, the frame of the Nikola One is made of steel and aluminum and compared to the similar sized truck with the diesel engine this truck is approximately 2,000 pounds heavier. The doors are large, and they are located behind the driver’s seat, which is unconventional, but it allows the tall people to enter the cabin with ease.

The front grille is enormous with the radiators in it, and their purpose is to cool the powertrain. Moreover, the 2023 Nikola One features LED headlights whereas in the back there are two axles with fenders above them, which improves the aerodynamics of the vehicle. You can see the powertrain behind the cab, in a large black box. The overall impression is that the Nikola One looks attractive, indeed.

The Cabin

There is more space in the cabin of the Nikola One than in the regular semi truck due to the specific design. The roof is tall, and the floor is low which allows you to walk upright and feel comfortable in the cab, whereas there are two full-size beds in the sleeper cab. The Nikola One feels like home because it contains a full-size fridge and freezer, computer desk, a closet and a 40-inch curved LED 4K TV with Apple TV.

The driver space is well-equipped, and he/she can access all of the controls easily. There are two large screens, and one of them is 10 inches large while the second comes with 21-inch diagonal and infotainment system. The first one shows important information such as coolant temperature, battery level, fuel gauge, service indicator and speedometer. The larger unit displays navigation, route, load planning, HVAC control and it is in charge of music.


An enormous 320 kWh lithium-ion battery pack is used in the truck, and it sends power to the six 800-volt AC motors. If the battery level is low, there is a hydrogen fuel cell that has a purpose of recharging them. Nikola One’s powertrain produces 1,000 hp and 2,000 lb-ft of torque, and this will help the truck go from 0-60 mph in 30 seconds with a full load, which is a much better result than what the traditional semi truck can achieve.

Another purpose of the electric motors is that they act as brakes. The noise, which is heard when the regular diesel-powered truck brakes have been eliminated but the real advantage of this system is that the life of the air brakes has been extended. According to the carmaker, the disc brakes should be able to last at least 500,000 miles before service.

Each motor regulates one of the wheels, and the truck has a better traction in turns or on rough and slippery roads due to the computer that can vector torque output to each wheel. The 2023 Nikola One is close to the ground, which makes it even more stable compared to conventional diesel trucks. Another specific feature for the Nikola One is the independent suspension at each wheel that further helps with ride quality.

Nikola Motors states that the fuel efficiency of their new semi is 15.4 mpg, which is good for this type of vehicle especially when they carry a heavy load. You can refuel your truck at one of 56-plus Nikola filling stations across the country, and it is free for the first million miles. The charging process lasts no longer than 15 minutes, so you can refresh and take a cup of coffee in the meantime.

2020 Nikola One Pricing Details and Release Date

The starting price of the Nikola One will be between $300,000 and $400,000, but you can also lease the car for $5,000 per month. Pre-orders are opened, and you can get one if you deliver a $1,500 deposit, but if you decide to back out the company will return the money. The production of this truck will start in two years, and it should hit the market in 2023.