Solar powered 750kW Nissan ute revealed

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Words: Matthew Hansen
27 Oct 2020

Along with all the Coronavirus malarky, 2020 could be looked back upon as the year of the electric ute. While Rivian and Tesla’s offerings debuted in 2019, they gained significant momentum in 2020. Same, too, for start-up company Nikola and its ute — with a General Motors partnership resulting.

Most recent was last week’s GMC Hummer EV, which was largely well received with its 1000hp tri-motor powertrain and throwback-but-futuristic styling. And, there’s another start-up that’s thrown its hat in the ring.

In a move less than humble, it’s called itself Hercules and its first model is going to be the Alpha (pictured). Based in Detroit and founded in 2018, the firm plans to do things a little differently, too. Instead of building an all-new platform from scratch, it’s going to use the existing Nissan Titan (a model exclusively offered in the US) as a base.

Along with a futuristic new front and rear end — underscored by LED light-up ‘Hercules’ text up front and a tail light that spans the full tailgate side to side — the Hercules adds an all-new powertrain.

According to the firm, the Alpha will utilise a four-motor set-up capable of producing 750kW of power. That’s a touch more than the aforementioned Hummer. It will also feature a series of solar panels on the bed cover — an interesting solution to the ongoing theory that cars and solar panels are a perfect match.

This, it claims, helps it achieve a range of around 480km to a charge. The model is also good for a claimed 0–96km/h time of 3.0 seconds. Hercules also says it can tow up to 5,670kg with a payload capacity of 1134kg.

The counterpoint to many of these figures is that Hercules is a relatively little-known company. And, a number of its claims sound highly optimistic. For example, it says it has raised US$27million from early customer reservations. With reservations costing US$1500 a pop, that would indicate 18,000 pre-orders — an insane amount for such a company.

The start-up has also not fleshed out the details of that four-motor set-up, outright pricing, or indeed many of the other changes its making to the Titan. But regardless, time will tell whether Hercules are a flash in the pan, or a real threat to the establishment.

Fun fact, this isn’t the first electric ute based on a Nissan. Chinese manufacturer Dongfeng has produced numerous EV utes, all based on D40-gen and D22-gen Navaras. The most impressive of these is called the 6, and it produces 120kW, can travel approximately 400km to a charge, and features a 68kWh battery.

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