Razzmatazz ends tomorrow – Day one at Nikola World 2019

4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineApril 18, 2019

Nikola Motor Company has delivered an amazing promise. The time is rapidly approaching for them to deliver a mass-produced amazing truck.

Thursday 17 April was set to be a huge day for Nikola Motor Company. Theoretically that‘s the day something meaningful and real would do something impressive and jaw dropping in front of the world‘s press and guests at Nikola World 2019. Wednesday‘s opening night was very much a rerun of the prototype 1 launch event in 2016, with lots of lights, and CEO and founder Trevor Milton making great speeches on philosophy and huge plans, along with celebrating fantastic partnerships, technical progress, and orders – Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser) has signed a contract for 800 vehicles. Neither was he short on lambasting that which has ‘delivered‘ for decades, and those who build them.

Yes, the Nikola 2 prototype arrived from backstage under its own ‘hydrogen‘, from what we could see, but the – mildly familiar looking – cabover Tre was a curtain fall in the corner and roped off, with everything meaningful clad in beautiful fibreglass panels.

“With Nikola‘s vision, the world will be cleaner, safer, and healthier,” extolled Milton. Well, the next 24 months will tell all. The manufacturing plant in Phoenix will have the sod turned this year, and the first customer vehicles will be delivered in the US in 2022, Europe in 2023. The hydrogen network will be built relative to sales and customer requirements, the end number projected to be 700 across the US by the turn of the next decade.

Trevor Milton stands aside as the Nikola 2 rolls onto the stage.

Granted there‘s a hell of a lot going on with the European truck now chasing the US one as we said above, and evidently Australia‘s seen as ripe for ‘Nikolaing.‘ And we know there‘s a dual strategy that now includes both EV and hydrogen cell, Milton saying the battle was always against emission, never one propulsion system over another. There‘s also the potential for lucrative military contracts and all that encompasses, with a tactical off-roader called Reckless.

There‘s no doubt Nikola and others like them have benefited from what happened to information and communication. No one‘s ever game any more to say ‘Meh!‘ But there‘s more and more heat coming on the new fraternity of wannabe manufacturers and knockers of traditional OEMs. Let‘s face it, the eCanter is delivering product in many places around the world right now, and it would be silly to bet the house against E-FUSO‘s go-live date.

Nikola Motor Company has the potential to upend the world of land-based transport, and the crater in the company‘s new home state of Arizona is a stark and chilling reminder that nothing stays the same forever. But right now, this week, what those assembled in Phoenix from around the world need to see is a big red Nikola 2 hook up to a loaded semi and without dispute haul the arse off it.

Governor for Arizona Doug Ducey said it perfectly: “What we need from you is wild success.”