Nikola Adds Hydrogen Production to Business

Electric truck manufacturer Nikola has announced that it will become a vertically integrated company, selling hydrogen-powered electric heavy-duty trucks and building a hydrogen fuel network and business under the HYLA brand.

This is clever branding, combining the HY from hydrogen with the last two letters of the company name to create an easy-to-remember link between the two businesses. Nikola is named after electric pioneer Nikola Tesla.

“The HYLA brand represents Nikola’s hydrogen-focused energy business by supporting our fuel cell electric vehicles and other OEM’s fuel cell electric vehicles,” said Nikola’s president of energy business. One Carey Mendes said:

Nikola has developed a hydrogen fueled FCEV class 8 truck with a range of 500 miles (805 km). The Nikola Tre FCEV, which is in trials with several carriers, including Anheuser-Busch, takes about 20 minutes to refuel.

Hydrogen has been a fanciful proposition for decades, but its technology and distribution have recently come under fire from regulators and politicians in the US, China and the EU.

Liberal parties in the United States and Europe have been battling the severity of climate change and carbon emissions for 30 years, all while industrialized economies that depend on oil from Russia and the Middle East and natural gas from Russia are being threatened by repressive forces. toward the majority position of being ruled. If we diversify our energy consumption away from fossil fuels, our unpredictable regime will be much safer.

The thrust of today’s hydrogen propulsion is on heavy trucks as well as light trucks to replace diesel, which emits far more carbon than the meantime Diesel vehicles tend to consume less volumetric fuel than equivalent gasoline vehicles. Burning 1 liter (0.26 gallon) of diesel fuel releases approximately 13% more CO2 than the same amount of gasoline fuel, so the CO2 emission benefit is significantly lower.

Nikola is aiming for a hydrogen truck business not only in drayage (ports to internal distribution centers), but also in intermodal and long-distance transport. Long-established truck manufacturers such as Volvo, Freightliner and Navistar are also developing his FCEV trucks.

What hydrogen energy proponents have been waiting for is the promotion of a hydrogen fuel infrastructure. The Inflation Reduction Act, signed last year by President Biden, allocated $7 billion to build a hydrogen hub that can produce large amounts of hydrogen, and “blue” hydrogen (produced from fossil fuels but sequestered as a result). ) is focused on generating and “green” hydrogen generated from renewable energy (wind and solar).

Nikola, with its HYLA business, is active in this growing area of ​​hydrogen supply and fueling.

“Nikola is the only company that has successfully integrated a ground-breaking new hydrogen fuel cell truck and a complete hydrogen energy infrastructure supply chain under one roof,” said Nikola CEO and President Michael Roescherer said. Sell ​​he said trucks and flexible mobile refueling trailers represent a real and sustainable competitive advantage for our customers and are an important indication that we are achieving what we set out to achieve. Evidence. ”

A new era of hydrogen

In addition to the hydrogen hub currently under development, the federal government has changed its view of hydrogen as a future competitor to fossil fuels due to tax incentives. Production tax credit for “clean hydrogen” production facilities. Incentives start at $0.60/kg for hydrogen produced in a manner that is slightly over half the carbon footprint of the SMR process, assuming workforce development and wage requirements are met. The value of the tax credit rises to $1.00/kg for higher carbon capture rates and jumps to $3.00/kg for hydrogen produced with very little emission.

Nikola’s main hydrogen production unit in Buckeye, Arizona, is expected to complete the first stages of production in the second half of 2024, the company said. When completed, it will produce 150 tons of fuel per day. With the additional production hub, Nikola plans to produce 300 tons daily.

It plans to have 60 hydrogen stations by 2026, with the first announced station in Colton, Calif. serving the Port of Long Beach. California is Nicola’s launch market, and these stations are intended to support key customers and further the state’s efforts to decarbonize the transportation sector.

New heavy-duty rigs and other trucks must be zero-emissions by 2040 under proposed regulations from the California Air Resources Board. Under this proposal, manufacturers would not be able to sell new medium and heavy duty trucks powered by diesel or gasoline to operate in California, instead forcing the trucking industry to switch to electric models. increase. Additionally, large trucking companies will have to gradually convert their existing fleets to zero-emission vehicles, buying more over time, until they are all zero-emissions by 2042.

Nikola’s move to separate its hydrogen business from vehicle production comes as the company faces several challenges in providing vehicles to its customers. Nikola told his shareholders in November that by 2022 he would not be able to meet his goal of delivering at least 300 vehicles, and did not specify when that target would be achieved.

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