Nikola to Add PlusDrive Safety System to Class 8 Electric Trucks
Nikola Corporation, a global leader in zero-emissions transportation, energy supply and infrastructure solutions, has announced the selection of PlusDrive, the nearly self-driving system from Plus, for its Nikola Tre battery-electric vehicle (BEV) and hydrogen electric vehicle (FCEV).
"The enhanced driver assistance features are yet another differentiator of Nikola's premium driver experience for our customers," says Michael Lohscheller, President and CEO, Nikola Corporation. "We are one of the first OEMs to offer 100% electric steering paired with the ZF EBS braking system. This base technology in all our vehicles, combined with Nikola's own internally developed vehicle controls, over-the-air updates and vehicle security can enable the integration of these advanced sensors and the realization of the PlusDrive safety system from Plus," he adds.
The first factory-installed Nikola Tre BEVs and FCEVs incorporating enhanced driver assistance features powered by PlusDrive will be available by the end of 2024. The new features are designed to offer unmatched safety, fuel efficiency and driver comfort, the company says. PlusDrive will elevate the role of the professional driver to a pilot who supervises the system to drive on the highway, handling everything from staying centered in the lane, lane changes, merges, stop-and-go traffic and nudging, while the driver remains alert and attentive. New driving features will be continuously added over-the-air without any additional truck downtime.
Together with Nikola's base technology, PlusDrive will moderate and predict the optimal and safest speed, while also taking full advantage of regenerative braking in traffic and slowing conditions. The vehicle is expected to keep the best position within the lane and account for other large and emergency vehicles.
"We are proud to support a zero-emission future and provide the underlying safety system behind Nikola's enhanced driver assistance features. The proven commercial readiness of our highly automated solution PlusDrive accelerates the deployment for our partners and sets a new bar for safety and sustainability for the trucking industry," says David Liu, CEO and Co-Founder, Plus.
The Nikola PlusDrive-enabled trucks, which will be available by late 2023, will be piloted by multiple fleets in the US, including PGT Trucking and Christenson Transportation. Given the “overwhelming fleet interest” in the system, Nikola is establishing an Enhanced Driver Assistance Customer Council to collaborate with fleets and Plus to continue refining the system, the company says.
In Mexico, heavy FCEVs are far from becoming a reality. However, the local industry is pushing toward the implementation of clean fuels, such as natural gas. Meanwhile, big companies such as Bimbo and Grupo Modelo have already included BEV fleets in the country’s main cities, aiming to decarbonize their last-mile operations.