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Bosch teams with Nikola to build hydrogen-electric semi truck

by Justin King

The companies expect to build a heavy-duty Class 8 semi by 2021.

Nikola Motor Company has teamed with veteran supplier Bosch to bring a hydrogen-electric semi to market.

The Utah-based startup previously announced the Nikola One and Two, entering the Class 8 truck segment with more than 1,000 horsepower and 2,000 pound-feet of torque.

Rather than developing the necessary hydrogen-electric powertrain and related systems completely in-house, Nikola apparently brought in Bosch to help fast-track the project by using the supplier's eAxle electric powertrain.

The eAxle is a modular platform that combines the motor, power electronics and transmission into a single compact unit. It is claimed to be suitable for a wide range of vehicles, from small passenger cars to light trucks -- presumably requiring a bit of adaptation for a commercial long-haul rig.

Nikola and Bosch are also said to be co-developing a customized hydrogen fuel-cell system for the truck. It will also integrate Bosch's off-the-shelf vehicle control software and hardware.

"By utilizing advanced simulation technologies throughout the whole development process, from system layout to testing and validation, the Nikola One and Two will launch with one of the most optimized and state-of-the-art system designs and vehicle controls in the mobility sector," the companies said in a statement.

The Nikola truck is expected to enter production by 2021.