Nikola Motor Company showcased its hydrogen-electric powered semi-truck, the Nikola Two, live in action for the first time to the general public at its Nikola World event. Bosch technology and expertise helped Nikola to realize the fully functional Nikola Two hydrogen-electric truck with industry-ready heavy-duty truck components and systems. The technology and system approach is adaptable for use in Nikola’s full line of vehicles, including the Nikola One Sleeper Cab and the Nikola Tre, a hydrogen-electric truck for European markets.
“Bosch has been our innovation partner to help make our vision a reality,” said Trevor Milton, founder and CEO of Nikola Motor Company. “We look for partners who provide us expertise and world-class solutions, but also ones that are willing to dream alongside us.”
The Nikola trucks feature innovations in automation, connectivity and electrification enabled with Bosch’s assistance. The supplier of technology and services offers solutions for commercial vehicles to improve efficiency and safety in logistics. To enable the distinctive Nikola approach, engineering teams from Bosch locations in the United States and Germany contributed more than 220,000 hours into the development of the Nikola trucks.
One of the key elements of Nikola’s advanced system is the Bosch Vehicle Control Unit (VCU), which provides higher computing power for advanced functions while reducing the number of standalone units. The VCU enables future innovations by providing a scalable platform for the highly complex
electric/electronic (E/E) architecture needed to support the advanced features of the Nikola truck. The Nikola family of trucks will be connected with an advanced and secure operating system that provides real-time, over-the-air updates and monitoring.
The essence of the Nikola truck lineup is a new commercial vehicle powertrain achieved thanks to a development partnership between Nikola and Bosch. The two organizations have reimagined the powertrain – and the vehicle chassis integrated together with it – from the ground up. The fuel-cell system designed to deliver benchmark vehicle range was custom-designed
together by Nikola and Bosch. The two organizations also worked in tandem to develop the first true dual-motor commercial-vehicle eAxle for a long-haul truck. The eAxle features Bosch rotors and stators, and Bosch has also contributed functional safety efforts throughout the truck.
Bosch technology is also prevalent in other areas of the Nikola trucks. Nikola’s vehicles will be missing one standard feature of previous class-8 trucks: side mirrors. In the place of the conventional main and wide-angle mirrors is a camera system, known as Mirror Cam System, which offers drivers a digital side and rear view from the truck cab. Two cameras, fitted left and right in place of traditional mirrors, feed real-time images to high-resolution displays mounted inside the cab. The system, developed by Bosch and MEKRA Lang, adjusts the monitor display to match the driving situation digitally. It captures both rear-view fields of vision of a CV mirror with just one camera lens on each side of the vehicle cab. In addition to increasing safety, compact digital cameras instead of mirrors offer aerodynamic advantages as the cameras are considerably smaller than mirrors and therefore reduce drag.
Fleet operators will be able to digitally manage vehicle keys for the Nikola trucks in their fleet thanks to the Perfectly Keyless system from Bosch.
Freight and commercial vehicle rental companies can use a smartphone app to give their drivers access to specific fleet vehicles and to flexibly manage who has access and when. Sensors on the Nikola vehicles will connect with an app on a driver’s smartphone so that when the driver approaches the vehicle, Perfectly Keyless recognizes the smartphone, identifies the unique security key assigned to the driver’s phone and unlocks the door. As soon as the driver moves away from the truck again, the vehicle is automatically securely locked.
Nikola’s trucks are equipped for driver assistance and future automation, thanks in part to the Bosch Servotwin electrohydraulic steering system. The steering system will enable driver assistance systems that actively support the driver to enhance driving comfort and improve safety. On the Nikola vehicles, the Servotwin will help to enable features such as lane-keeping assistance, side-wind compensation and traffic jam assist. The system also provides a key building block for the rollout of automated features in the future.
From the original magneto to gasoline direct injection and now to the first all-electric UTV powered by individual wheel motors, Bosch is at the core of numerous powertrain breakthroughs. Nikola Powersports showcased its all-electric Nikola NZT™ for the first time publicly to consumers at its Nikola World event. Behind the innovative vision from Nikola, Bosch assisted by providing systems and components expertise to help make the NZT a reality.
The Nikola NZT is the most advanced electric UTV in the world with staggering performance and capabilities. It features more than 500 horsepower coming from the state-of-the-art battery and four wheel-independent motors. The electrification in the Nikola NZT creates an impressive acceleration feat, 0-60 in less than 3.5 seconds.
Already more than one million electric and hybrid vehicles around the world contain Bosch technology. The leading provider of technology and services acquired 30 electromobility projects worth several billion euros in 2018, and by 2025, Bosch aims to increase its sales in electromobility tenfold.
A key feature of the Nikola NZT’s unique electric approach are four independent electric motors that provide instant power on every wheel. Bosch SMG220 motors eliminate belts, increasing efficiency and performance. The electric motor at each wheel gives drivers torque to each wheel where and when needed, limiting slip. This provides a unique 4x4 experience with full torque nearly the entire time without needing to hit a specific RPM to reach optimal torque – a feature largely unattainable in a gas version. Thanks to the combination of the four independent motors, the Nikola NZT will achieve 440 kW output,
which translates to 590 horsepower and 722 ft. lbs. torque before gear reduction. After the reduction at the wheel hub, the torque can peak at 9,386 ft. lbs.
The greater horsepower and torque aren’t at a penalty though, as the motors only take the exact amount of energy they need to perform as directed. However, when extra torque and horsepower is needed, it’s there thanks to the independent wheel motors. Electric motors also help with regenerative braking to re-charge the battery.
Enabled by software expertise from Bosch, the Nikola NZT’s complex vehicle controls precisely control the torque at each wheel, a function typically available in the highest-end sports cars. Together with the Bosch anti-lock braking system (ABS), the unique software is combined with the vehicle control unit from Bosch to enable the
Nikola NZT to demonstrate supercar agility, always utilizing and never wasting any torque and energy over any type of terrain. Bosch also helped Nikola with functional safety, calibration and the overall electric/electronic (E/E) architecture approach required to support such a high-performance vehicle.
President of Nikola Powersports