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Nikola To Unveil Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck, Aims For Market Dominance

Nikola Corporation set to introduce hydrogen-powered truck this quarter, challenging skeptics in the industry.

Nikola Corporation (NASDAQ:NKLA) is aiming to introduce its hydrogen fuel cell electric truck this quarter.

Nikola Corporation was in 2014 as a company creating battery and hydrogen power for heavy-duty trucks. It is named after Nikola Tesla, but not related to the inventor.

The first two zero-emissions electric trucks, from an order of 100 vehicles, delivered from the Nikola Corporation to Total Transportation Services at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro on Friday, December 17, 2021. (BRITTANY MURRAY/GETTY IMAGES) 

In May, Nikola said that it has received orders for 140 hydrogen fuel cell trucks. These trucks have a maximum range of 500 miles, can provide up to 536 horsepower, and has a fuel time of 20 minutes or less.

Though Nikola will be building the truck, its fuel cell power module will be provided by Bosch in what CEO Michael Lohscheller termed a “vital partnership.”

“We can’t and do not want to do everything ourselves. Our core competence is on the controls and the software,” the CEO told Commercial Carrier Journal at ACT Expo 2023.

While most production for the North American market will be undertaken at Nikola’s facility in Coolidge, Arizona, the production facility in Ulm, Germany will be used for additional capacity if needed.

The fuel cell truck is based on an electric drivetrain similar to the Nikola Tre BEVs. The difference, however, is the system behind the electrical energy which powers the drivetrain.

Several players in the industry have expressed skepticism over hydrogen as an efficient fuel source with Tesla CEO Elon Musk being one of them.

In May 2022, Musk said the world will overwhelmingly choose batteries over hydrogen for storing energy and termed the latter “the most dumb thing I could possibly imagine for energy storage.”

Nikola is presently under much heat after one of its battery-powered trucks that caught fire last month reignited again on Sunday afternoon at its headquarters in Phoenix.

The company had received a $41.9 million grant in California where hydrogen stations would be created in Southern California in partnership with the California Department of Transportation. 

“We’re thrilled to receive this grant from the CTC,” said Nikola Energy president Carey Mendes. “This award, in collaboration with Caltrans, will allow us to accelerate the deployment of zero-emission hydrogen refueling infrastructure, which is vital for the successful launch our hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks in July.”

As hydrogen is underway for the heavy-duty commercial truck, Toyota and Hyundai have been the only passenger vehicles automotive companies to offer hydrogen powered cars with Toyota offering the Mirai and Hyundai offering the Nexo SUV. 

Honda had previously offered the FCX Clarity as a hydrogen powered vehicle as a lease, but wasn’t very success among consumers.

Produced in association with Benzinga

Edited by and

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