Going Off-Road

With sedans, SUVs, semi trucks, and even buses being converted to run on electricity, it was only matter of time before off-road vehicles were given the same treatment. In this particular case,  however, it’s an off-road vehicle with capabilities that outmatch most EVs in production and even some heavy-duty tanks.

Enter the Nikola Zero UTV (utility task vehicles) from Nikola Powersports, a vehicle that enables drivers to take their trip off-road and drive for miles without the harmful carbon dioxide emissions.

The Nikola Zero has a base price of $35,000 and currently has two models: one that has 415 horsepower and another with 555 horsepower. Both models can be equipped with a 75 kWh, 100 kWh or 125 kWh battery pack, with the final option enabling the vehicle to travel nearly 321 km (200 miles) on a single charge. Even the lesser battery capacity will still allow for a range beyond 160 km (100 miles).

Side view of the Nikola Zero. Image Credit: Nikola Motor
Side view of the Nikola Zero. Image Credit: Nikola Motor

For comparison, the biggest battery you can get for a Tesla vehicle is 100 kWh — and that’s only for the Model S and Model X. The long-awaited Model 3 caps out at 75 kWh. Tesla still has the Nikola Zero beat when it comes to range — though to be fair, the models were designed with different goals in mind.

According to Wired, Nikola Powersports designed the Zero for rock crawling and towing farm equipment, and it uses similar tech to its electric semi trucks — Nikola One and Nikola Two. Surprisingly enough, it can still go from 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, putting it on par with the Model S (2.5 – 4.2 seconds), but faster than the Model 3 (5.1 – 5.6 seconds).

More Torque Than You’ll Ever Need

The Nikola Zero is already impressive enough when compared to other cars, but its specifications make it out to have more power than the M1 Abrams battle tank. Compared to the M1 Abrams’ 3900 ft-lbs of torque, the Zero has 4,900 ft-lbs of torque — nearly 1,222 ft-lbs. of torque at each of its 4 wheels. When up against five diesel-powered UTVs in a tug-of-war contest of strength, Wired reports Nikola CEO Trevor Milton saying his Zero would “tear them to pieces.”

Overhead view of the Nikola Zero. Image Credit: Nikola Motor
Overhead view of the Nikola Zero. Image Credit: Nikola Motor

Nikola elaborates on the Zero’s significant amount of horsepower and torque in their FAQ section, saying, “The advantage of the electric motor is that you only use what you need, when you need it. You are not penalized by having electric motors with greater HP and Torque.”

The FAQ goes on to explain that “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.”

If everything about the Nikola Zero makes it sound like it’d be perfect for you, you can reserve one today with a $750 deposit. They don’t go on sale until January, so expect pre-orders to be fulfilled sometime in 2018.