https://www.greencarcongress.com/2019/02/20190210-nikola.htmlThe battery-electric trucks will be available in 500 kWh, 750 kWh and 1,000 kWh configurations. The company is positioning the all-battery versions for short haul, while the hydrogen fuel cell versions are targeted for long haul.
The Nikola One will, for the moment, remain hydrogen only, as it is targeted for long-haul operations, being equipped with a sleeper cab.
Nikola went on to emphasize that the hydrogen trucks are 5,000 lbs lighter than the battery-electric trucks, and cheaper for long haul applications even with current hydrogen costs. Nikola positions battery-electric for inner cities and non-weight-sensitive applications.
We will see 50:1 more hydrogen orders but [for] some applications BEV works great.
As a comparison between the two powertrains, Nikola said that:
A battery-electric truck at 80,000 lbs uses ~ 2.25 kWh per mile in real weather and normal hills on routes. A 1 MWh configuration (1,000 kWh) will support a range of about 400 miles, with 90% of the battery being usable. In cold weather, that will drop to 300 miles. A 1MWh pack will used 69,000 21700 cells.
The fuel cell version of the 80,000lb truck requires the same 2.25 kWh/mile as the battery version, and will get around 7-10 miles per kg H2. The weight of the fuel cell system is about 3,000 - 5,000 lbs less than that of the battery system. . . .
Any trucking company calculating the relative costs of FCEV vs. BEV will do so based on ton-mile costs and time (along with longevity, reliablity and maintenance). BEVs make the most sense for P&D and shorter-range distribution, because their weight isn't an issue (no scales for local trips, and some distribution routes won't encounter them or can avoid them without wasting a lot of time), and they are returning to the same location each day with significant idle time.
Long haul is a different matter - the cost of the extra tractors you need to haul the weight you couldn't (legally) carry in the heavier BEV adds up, as does fueling time. I expect the last will be especially significant once semis become autonomous, as no provision will be needed for driver stop requirements, only energy replenishment. California has already passed a law allowing a 2,000 lb. overweight for AFV trucks, apparently at the behest of the NG truck lobby, and H2 will probably add about the same or more - a BEV semi would bump the tare weight even more, requiring an even greater overweight if the load isn't reduced. As I've previously stated, I'm not a fan of such laws given the extra road damage they cause, and whether or how much we may see expansion of them remains to be seen. Here's a related article, via IEVS:
https://insideevs.com/electric-truck-500-mile-range/For Electric Trucks, 500-Mile Range Seems To Be The Sweet Spot
. . . In a recent research study, it was found that the “Electric truck market is expected to attain a market size of 1,508.1 thousand units by 2025.” Yes, that’s an odd unit of numerical measure there. But we won’t dwell on that.
Let’s move on to electric range. This is where the figures are more meaningful to us. The report states:
Based on range, the electric truck market is categorized into 0-150 miles, 151-250 miles, 251-500 miles, and above 500 miles. The market for electric trucks with a range of above 500 miles is projected to register the highest growth, with a growth rate of over 30% in terms of volume, during the forecast period, owing to the growing demand for long-haul trucks.
This implies that range is a big factor, with the highest growth predicted in the highest range segment of above 500 miles. That range is not easy to achieve in a big, heavy-hauler though without lots of battery. For example, Nikola Motors says that the 1 MWh battery pack in is expected to give Nikola Two a range of 400 miles (640 km) or 300 miles (480 km) in cold weather. Nikola adds that such a big battery will weigh half of the truck’s weight.
So, you get the idea here. To get lots of range in a semi it takes loads of batteries and adds a ton of weight. Or perhaps a new, super advanced battery that’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen. . . .
Maybe batteries will improve to the point that FCEVs lose their weight/range/longevity/fueling time advantages, maybe not. In any case, arguing about which is better here is silly - the trucking companies employ people to do those calcs and figure out the LCC given the operational requirements, and they're far better positioned to make those judgments than anyone here. You can be sure that they will make those calcs.