Nikola Powersports, which had previously revealed a prototype electric UTV, has announced the final specifications and design for their Nikola Zero four-passenger UTV. The specs are quite impressive with a 415 hp and 3,675 lbs of torque base option that can be bumped to 555 hp and 4,900 lbs of torque. The company is also touting the vehicle as a potentially street legal ready vehicle. The Nikola Zero has three battery options: 75kWh, 100kWh and 125kWh. The Zero will have a 200 mile range in 4×4 off-road mode with the largest battery pack. According to CEO Trevor Milton,
The Nikola Zero will be the first UTV to come with optional Anti-Lock Braking Systems (ABS), stability control, anti-roll-over, traction control and torque vectoring. Normally these options are reserved for high-end sports cars and not normally found in UTVs. We have worked hard to make these UTVs street legal, and in many states, you may be able to drive the Nikola Zero UTV to work. Once you test drive the Nikola Zero, you will want to trade in your current UTV. No other competitor UTV can match the Nikola Zero’s performance. We are not talking about a few seconds faster than the competition, we are talking about laps faster, with speeds up to 0-60 in 3.9 seconds with four passengers inside.
Key specs of the Nikola Zero include:
- 4 passenger
- 400-volt AC Motors
- On-Demand 4×4 or 2×4 at any speed
- Baja style hubs and disc brakes with Motor Regenerative Braking
- Active descent control
- 20″ of front/rear travel with 3.0″ FOX Podium Internal Bypass Shocks
- Electronic power steering
- 4-Wheel Hydraulic Disc brakes with Triple-Bore Front & Rear Calipers
- 32″ tires with Method Wide-5 beadlock wheels
- 14″ of ground clearance
- 62″ wide and 74″ high
- 3,500 lbs dry weight
- LED headlights and taillights
- Digital gauge
- 10″ and 7″ displays
- Anti-lock braking
- Street legal package
- 555 hp
- 100 kWh and 125 kWh battery packs
- 4×4 torque vectoring system
- Anti-roll protection
- Traction control
- Front and rear 4,500 lb. winches
- Factory audio system
Some additional information about the Zero:
- The lithium battery pack ranges from 500 to 1,500 lbs depending on the size and is waterproof
- Each wheel has an electric motor
- The solar option will provide about 40 miles per day in range
- There are several charging options providing charging times of anywhere from 3 to 14 hrs to full charge
- Over-the-air software updating
Nikola Zero pricing starts at $35,000 and you can currently reserve one with a $750 deposit. A dealer ride and drive event is being planned in December 2017 in St. George, Utah. The company expects to start delivering the UTVs sometime in 2018. Nikolamotor.com
Comment: These are really big battery packs, similar to what Tesla’s use. This raises questions about whether they can really hit that price point and where do they fit the batteries and cooling system for packs that large. On price Tesla’s battery pack is in the range of $190 per kWh from what I have read with the aim to reduce that by 30% for the new Model 3 which would reduce the cost to $135 per kWh. At $135 the cost of a 75 kWh pack is $10,125 and at $190 the cost is $14,250. This is assuming Nikola Motor can match Tesla’s costs which is unlikely considering Tesla is thought to have the lowest battery pack costs in the market and has much higher volumes than Nikola Motor.
I am skeptical about the price point but the technology is certainly available to build such a vehicle. The pricing has to be considered in the context of the high end UTVs that the Nikola Zero will be competing against which are already in the $25-30k range. This segment of the market is certainly driven by product features and performance and a portion of the segment may be willing to pay a sizable premium if the vehicle performs as advertised.
Another issue is whether consumers in this segment want to switch from ICE to electric powered vehicles regardless of performance. The sound of a high-powered engine is part of the fun, is it not?
The street legal aspect of the Nikola Zero could change the value proposition and make the price premium more palatable. From the local ordinances SVR tracks, more and more municipalities are allowing UTVs to be used on local roads. Granted, these are usually low speed roads, but if you can use the vehicle to also make local trips downtown then it becomes more like a second car.
Possibly the biggest issue is if the company can ever get the vehicle to market. There have been plenty of electric vehicle startups that have had impressively designed vehicles but are never put into production. I would like the vehicle to actually make it to dealers. Then we can see if it can disrupt the market.
Marc Cesare, Smallvehicleresource.com