Nikola Motors debuted today with a lot of promises about two new plug in vehicles, the Nikola One semi-truck and the Nikola Zero UTV.
Trucking is a lonely line of work full of long, monotonous stretches of driving punctuated by fast food, cheap motels, and short stints of heavy labor. To relieve the loneliness and boredom, some truckers travel with a co-driver, others spend their time chattering away on the CB to anyone who will listen. Smart truckers though, smart truckers get a dog.
The four occupants of a minivan in Michigan were in for a terrifying ride early in the morning on January 7. Their minivan got lodged under the back of a semi's trailer, and the vehicle was drug 16 miles along Interstate 75. During that time, the driver was on the phone with 911 but couldn't exactly say where the stricken van was because of the snowy conditions.
It's not unusual to see a grown man hitch his pickup truck to another grown man's pickup truck in an attempt to, we assume, prove their chosen engine, brand or tires are better than the other as they face in different directions and start pulling. What is unusual, however, is to see one such pickup truck hitched up to a massive big rig.
Nobody should be shocked that a big, heavy vehicle like a semi truck takes a longer distance to stop than the average passenger car; it's just basic physics. However, this BMW X5 driver seemingly has a major problem grasping the concept, and it results in some serious damage to the back of his SUV.
A lot of drivers hate seeing semis on the freeway because of their intimidating size and slow speed, but big rigs are absolutely vital to moving goods around the country. The US is on the road to a major trucking crisis, though. A recent analysis from Business Insider finds that we aren't producing nearly enough new drivers to fill all the needed seats. By 2022, the shortfall could reach 239,000 people.
Think 10 miles per gallon, and your mind may harken back to muscle cars along the line of the General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard. Apply that figure to a semi-truck, though, and we're talking actual fuel-efficiency gains. That's what the four-year-old SuperTruck program shot for, and two of its four teams have already hit that goal.
With the debate about how to fund the US interstate system already raging, there may be another big highway controversy on the horizon. The US Department of Transportation might slow down some of the vehicles on the nation's roads by mandating speed governors on semi trucks.
Based on studies conducted last year, the National Transportation Safety Board has sent seven recommendations to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration "to improve the safety of tractor-trailers." The suggestions range from changing actual physical components on tractor-trailers, like adding protection along the sides of trailers to keep cars from going under them, to recording VIN information on trailers - which isn't currently collected - in accident reports.
Semi-trucks and their drivers are the lifeblood of our economy, hauling all the goods we use on a daily basis. A group of such truckers have decided to stage a protest against many of the current practices of our government. This weekend, the Ride for the Constitution (formerly called Truckers to Shut Down America) will lead a convoy of trucks to Interstate 495 around Washington, D.C. where they will drive 55 miles per hour taking up all lanes of traffic.