We don’t need no stinking fossil fuel

Free Fuel for a Million Miles!
by Tyler
Yes, “Free fuel for a Million Miles” is one of the selling points for the new “zero emissions” truck being offered by Nikola Motor Company. And, the fuel itself is made on site, using zero emissions technology.
    A few months ago, Nikola Motors unveiled its’ hydrogen powered, all electric sleeper Semi truck “Nikola One”. As its’ promotional materials state, this heralds “The end of Diesel Engines”, and the performance data will impress anyone.
    Although capable of putting out 3,000 horsepower, the electric motors are throttled back to a maximum of 1,000. The average diesel rig generates 500 HP. This means that whereas it takes a full minute for a diesel truck to get to 60 mph under full load, the electric truck does that in just 30 seconds. But more important for people who live in hilly country, and have to sit behind big rigs grinding up the roads at 20 to 40 mph, the electric sprints up those same 6% hills at 65 mph!  
    Today’s diesel trucks have a range of 500 to 750 miles. The Nikola One can cover 1,200 miles before requiring refueling. Truckers can spend $10,000 a month on diesel fuel. Nikola Motors offer free fuel for the first 1 million miles.
   And, the electric trucks are expected to last twice as long, with half the maintenance cost, a third of the “cost per pound“ moved.
   I could list the appliances like full sized fridge and freezer, 40” curved 4k TV, the wifi and 4G LTE internet, two full sized beds and more that is built in, along with an impressive array of electronics to aid the driver, but this is not intended to be an ad for Nikola Motors!  Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors and Mercedes Benz are also announcing zero emissions heavy trucks. The implications for our future that this latest technology brings are my focus.
    There are many exciting and positive aspects to what electric transport trucks and their related technologies create. 70% of all freight tonnage in the US goes on trucks, requiring 3.4 million heavy duty trucks. Multiply 3.4 million trucks, using $10,000 worth of CO2 producing fuel each month, and we start to get a picture of how beneficial this revolution is for our future.  But the impacts are far greater than just the fuel burned by all those big diesel engines. Factor in all it takes to drill for, extract, transport and process all that fuel.
   By contrast, the hydrogen fuel used by the Nikola Motors system is created at the fueling station (360 across the US and Canada) using solar panels to create the electricity needed to separate the hydrogen and oxygen in ordinary water. No transportation. Zero emissions. No pollution, at all.
   As amazing as this development is, imagine the other applications. Cruise ships burn an average of 140-150 TONS of fuel, a DAY! A large ship can burn 250 tons a day. That is more than 80,000 gallons, a day. Fitted with hydrogen/electric systems, with solar panels on a roof, and surrounded by water, it would seem these ships could eliminate their fossil fuel use, create their own fuel on board, and have unlimited cruising range.
  Container ships? Trains? Replacing the diesel generators that remote communities rely upon?
   Climate change is happening, and people are coming up with ways to eliminate the need for fossil fuels, and the negative impacts associated with them.  Supporters of the fossil fuel industries have told audiences that eliminating those energy sources would mean people would have to give up their current standard of living, and “go back to living in caves”. As we see, this simply is not true.
(This is the first of a series on ways we can combat CO2 pollution, and other problems facing our communities.)


  1. Mike Libera

    I would dispute that there is no pollution at all, unless they have come up with a new type of tire that does not wear. Assuming these rigs use current tire technology, tires wear out and create tire dust (rubber), which is a pollutant. However, this is small in consideration and other benefits are huge.I look forward to seeing these on the road soon but I think we can expect Big Oil to fight this progress tooth and nail but ultimately market conditions should prevail – meaning Big Oil won’t change but lower cost should drive the change to this technology, also resulting in lower pollution. This will be a win-win for us all . . .

    1. Tyler

      Perhaps you saw the oil industry magazine “Oil Price” headline only 5 months ago that reads “Saudi Arabia to Spend $50 Billion On Massive Solar Push”?

      “Free fuel” and better performance is pretty hard to argue with.

      These aren’t treehuggers advocating for alternative policies, this is big business itself, and their own “market place” at work.

      You remember oil giant Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) was once the world’s largest manufacturers of solar panels? (I think the Chinese surpassed them by now). Business is about making money. We determine what they make. They don’t make money creating products we don’t buy.

      But beyond the vehicles, imagine all the big motors in industrial facilities and elsewhere that could be converted to “free fuel” power systems like this!

    2. Kurt

      Get real. They’re talking about emissions from the engine (generator/motor in this case). Of course tires wear, are made largely from petroleum byproducts, and there’s still no 0% carbon-emission vehicle. But this comes real close!

      1. Anon

        I think Mike was reacting to the “No pollution, at all.” statement in the article. But if you read the preceding sentences, you see it is talking about the production of the fuel itself, requiring no transportation, using solar energy and water, on site.

        Just to point that out.

  2. Pete

    The fossil fuel industry, and their unmitigated greed and devastation, is what is holding back humanity. Why in the hell was the most destructive industry on earth allowed to become the most powerful?

  3. Another Anon

    “We don’t need no stinking fossil fuel”. And, “The Future is Now”. These seem to be what investors are saying, as they pour their money into non-fossil fuel businesses.

    Mr. Trump many think he is accomplishing something by relaxing pollution laws, and opening the Arctic for oil drilling, but the financial community sees the future, and they are speaking with their wallets.

    Headlines in the financial media 6 weeks ago stated “Tesla becomes most valuable U.S. car maker, edges out GM “. Musk has announced plans for a compact SUV, and a pick up truck to add to Tesla’s affordable Model 3 passenger car.

    European car manufacturers such as Audi, Renault, Porsche and BMW have joined Asian car companies in offering all-electric cars. China now offers dozens of all-electric cars, starting at prices as low as only a few thousand dollars.

    Now in production are all-electric motorcycles, with one model claiming the title as the world’s fastest at 218 mph. Off the shelf.

    The politicians may want to keep us distracted with their contrived issues, but business sees the writing on the wall, and is investing in the future, and offering products, now.

  4. Another Anon

    I listened with interest today to the reports of the G7 Summit in Italy. Did you hear the leaders of the 7 biggest industrialized nations on the planet make Climate Change one of their top priorities? Even more importantly, I heard Canada’s Prime Minister recognize that the financial community is turning to investing in renewable energy sources.

    And, as a result, the White House Press say Trump’s position on Climate Change continues to “evolve”.

    Yes, also in today’s news, the US continues to be the world’s top oil producer. Because money means more to us than our future. (Do remember America became the wold’s top oil producer under Obama).


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