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Tesla Semi gets real competition in Nikola Tre for Europe

Startup Nikola's electric semi truck Tre is getting very real, very quickly.

Nikola Tre
No emissions from this semi.

Tesla may have scooped up all of the hype with the electric Semi a couple of years ago, but others are quickly filling the space. And one name is starting to crop up more often than not: Nikola.

On Tuesday, the US-based startup unveiled its third electric semi truck with its sights set on Europe, called the Tre. Most importantly, this is a collaborative effort between the startup and CNH Industrial's Iveco subsidiary. CNH made a very healthy investment to the tune of $250 million earlier this year and gave Nikola that much more credibility in the space.

Although Nikola first championed hydrogen fuel cells, it's been working to roll out electric semi trucks as well. The Tre is a totally battery-powered semi, though there are plans for a hydrogen fuel cell-powered version as well. Basically, the commercial truck unveiled is an Iveco S-Way with a Nikola powertrain and infotainment package, but nevertheless, the running gear is one of the most important parts.

Both companies said the Tre should go about 248 miles on a charge thanks to a modular battery system packing 720 kWh. Drivers will have 644 horsepower on tap and a whopping 1,327 pound-feet of torque. The kind of brute force matches the Tre's muscular, yet futuristic exterior look.

Inside, the electric semi is pretty tricked out compared with today's trucks. The Nikola package wraps climate control, mirror adjustment, suspension height adjustment, 360-degree camera system, navigation, Bluetooth audio system and vehicle diagnostics into one touchscreen. Ahead of the driver is another screen in the dashboard that shows the typical essential information.

While Nikola is already working with customers in the US for its Two semi, the company and Iveco plan to put the Tre into production next year. The first electric semis will be delivered in 2021. As for hydrogen fuel cell power, that's scheduled for 2023.

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