The first announcement of the Nikola Motor hydrogen-electric truck brought out a heavy-hitter when it came to an initial fleet interested in trying this new tractor design. U.S. Xpress Enterprises (NYSE: USX) committed early to testing the vehicle. Many of the first images of the truck featured U.S. Xpress on the side.
“There’s an intersect here in the next five or six years where battery technology may overtake diesel [in operational cost],” Max Fuller, USX chairman, told FreightWaves in 2017. He explained that the Nikola One truck could represent a 30 percent to 50 percent cost reduction per truck for his fleet. “[Nikola’s] providing the fuel, so I have a fixed cost, whereas the price of diesel is volatile. The incentive is to get out of the whole diesel volatility cycle. It really is something we can’t control but it impacts our bottom line greatly.”
Nikola Motor is promising to provide 1 million miles of hydrogen fuel, plus maintenance, tires and some ancillary items such as truck washes as part of a monthly lease program. Fleets and owner-operators can also choose to purchase the truck and those items will still be covered, said Trevor Milton, Nikola Motor’s founder & CEO, at the time.