EV Maker Nikola's Garbage Truck Plans to Put Stink on Competition
Nikola journeys into dirty business with 2,500 trash trucks ordered by Republic Services.
Will this be the coolest—and quietest—garbage truck in the world? Perhaps—but we'll believe it when we actually see it. Nikola, whose most notable contribution to the pickup-truck world thus far is the hydrogen fuel-cell Nikola Badger, is now dabbling in the dirty business of trash collection with its Nikola Refuse battery-electric garbage truck. Nikola, which is shooting for dominance in the zero-emissions heavy truck market, sees waste as a stable business and has received an order of 2,500 electrified Nikola Refuse trash trucks from Republic Services, the second largest recycling and solid waste provider in the U.S. The order is expandable up to 5,000.
Claiming about three times the power (up to 1,000 horsepower), Nikola expects its Nikola Refuse to outperform its diesel and natural-gas competition—not to mention the zero-emissions perk of the electric powertrain. The Nikola Refuse will be based on the Nikola Tre platform, so the batteries, controls, inverters and electric axle will be shared with the Badger. Nikola will cover the chassis and body with a single factory warranty, which is another aspect unique to the Nikola Refuse. Options will include both automated side loaders and front-end loaders. Nikola claims up to 1,200 cans per charge, up to 150 miles per charge, and up to 720 kWh of energy storage.
Don't lament the good ol' days of hearing the trash truck prowling the neighborhood for hours before finally hitting your block; it's going to be a while before the quieter, more futuristic hum of the Nikola is heard on trash day. Production of the Nikola is expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2021, with those first units being produced at Nikola's Ulm, Germany, facility. On-road testing of the Nikola Refuse is then projected to begin in early 2022, with full production deliveries in 2023. Hopefully the Nikola Refuse is more than just vapor.