Nikola Motors announced plans for a utility vehicle a few years ago with specifications that many thought were pure hype. The 520 horsepower they said would be on-board was pretty ridiculous for a side-by-side. Now final specifications and pre-orders have been announced with production beginning shortly. And those specs are bigger than what was originally boasted.
The 520 horses has inflated to 555 HP. A 400-volt system will feed that, with 490 pound foot of torque and a 0-60 mph time of 3.9 seconds. The all-electric Nikola Zero will have a gear reduction ratio of 10:1, boosting that 490 lb-ft to a massive 4,900. For reference, that’s on par with a big rig truck hauling 40,000+ pounds of trailer. The horsepower numbers are roughly triple the industry average, with a comparable Polaris or Can-Am having about 170 horses.
“The advantage of the electric motor is that you only use what you need, when you need it,” the company explains on its website. “You are not penalized by having electric motors with greater horsepower and torque. The motors only take the exact amount of energy they need to perform as directed and not a kilowatt more. So when you need that extra horsepower and torque to climb a hill or tow, you have it. When you don’t need it, you don’t use it.”
The larger motor outputs mean that the battery must be large enough to service it with enough juice to produce those numbers. There are a few battery options for the Zero, starting with a 50 kWh pack, then a 75 kWh, a 100 kWh, an da large 130 kWh pack. Each steps up the total range for the UTV with the largest pack having about 200 miles of all-electric range when driving in 4×4 mode.
The chassis for the Nikola Zero has 20-inches of suspension travel, 14 inches of ground clearance, electric power steering, LED headlamps, 32-inch tires on beadlock wheels, and a standard 10-inch infotainment display with vehicle monitoring software included. Options include 4×4 torque vectoring for better steering/handling, anti-lock braking for on-road safety, traction control, and anti-roll protection to go along with the roll cage. A 4,500-pound winch is also an option and can be mounted front or back (or both).
Pre-orders from private buyers and dealers has begun and total price will be $35,000 when it enters the market next year.
Aaron is an automotive journalist living in Wyoming, USA. His background includes technology, mechanics, commercial vehicles, and new vehicle evaluations. Aaron is a member of several automotive media groups and writes for many well-known publications.