Nikola Motors is a startup that is developing large power platforms but is also channeling some of that knowledge into a fast, futuristic vehicle that non-truckers may want to drive called NZT. Starring at an event in Arizona on Tuesday night alongside these large platforms and an electric motorcycle, the NZT is a four-wheeled vehicle with modern buggy vibrations built to get off the road. Nikola hopes to set you apart by offering you some of the typical comforts found on road cars, plus eye-popping power – with a starting price of $ 80,000 to match when you go into production in 2021.
The NZT (meaning "zero liquid toll", a nod to its lack of emissions) must tackle trails and hills with ease thanks to 35-inch tires and a motor on each wheel. But pilots need not get dirty or sweaty along the way. The cabin can be completely fenced from the elements and features an HVAC system for heating or cooling your units. The NZT also features a 7-inch instrument panel and a 13-inch panel-oriented monitor (both IP68 waterproof) that can be upgraded through software updates over the air. With so much technology, it would be easy to confuse the interior of the NZT with a small Tesla.
That said, with up 590 horsepower on offer, it is hard to imagine the owners paying close attention to the screens during the desert travels. Nikola claims that the NZT will go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4 seconds, and the owners apparently can take the speed of the supercar very far as well. The NZT will travel up to 150 miles on a full battery thanks to a 125kWh package, according to Nikola's website. In addition, it has a towing capacity of 3,000 pounds and can spend 30 minutes in up to one meter of water.
Those are big claims, especially on the battery side of things. The more expensive Teslas have batteries with 100kWh of capacity, and most other EVs currently in production offer less than that. As Nikola plans to put so much battery capacity into such a small package is a question we will try to answer while we are in Arizona. (The high price of the sticker, the hefty weight of 5250 pounds and the production date of 2021 offer some clues, though.)
One reason to believe such bold statements is that the NZT Nikola showed that Tuesday night was the culmination of years of work. The company has repeatedly provoked prototypes of its off-road vehicle, and NZT is the version the company decided to try to put on the market. Nikola is also developing a similar off-road electric vehicle for military purposes. AN very was for the design and engineering of this vehicle.
The price of the NZT will be a major barrier, but that's part of the plan to get you started. Nikola executives told a news conference after Tuesday's event that the company's big business will be the major power platforms – no surprise, considering that the startup already has billions of dollars in commitments to these business trucks like the Anheuser-Busch. Like the more direct consumer product Nikola has announced in Arizona, the personal electric vessel Wav, the NZT will exist on the sidelines of the startup business.