Nikola, a cash-strapped maker of zero-emission heavy-duty vehicles, stated it’s obtained grant funding from California to construct a few of the first U.S. fueling stations for hydrogen-powered semis, an alternative choice to carbon-spewing diesel fashions. Some might open as quickly as late this 12 months.
The Phoenix-based firm stated the California Transportation Fee awarded it $41.9 million to construct six heavy-duty hydrogen stations in Southern California. They’ll function below the HYLA model Nikola launched this 12 months with its associate Voltera and be situated alongside high-volume freight corridors close to Los Angeles, San Diego and within the Mojave Desert area.
The grant “will permit us to speed up the deployment of zero-emissions hydrogen refueling infrastructure, which is important for the profitable launch of our hydrogen gas cell electrical vehicles in July,” Carey Mendes, president of Nikola Power, stated in an emailed assertion.
The announcement is much-needed excellent news for a corporation that should elevate considerably extra capital to create a viable enterprise promoting zero-emission vehicles. Nikola final month stated it was chopping about 270 jobs throughout its operations to assist cut back bills, and it’s additionally in search of to boost extra money by issuing new shares. It’s overhauled operations dramatically prior to now two years, focusing solely on constructing battery and gas cell vehicles and making hydrogen to energy the latter, attempting to beat harm to its model performed by founder Trevor Milton. He was convicted of securities and wire fraud final 12 months and is awaiting sentencing.
The California funds will cowl about half of the price of constructing the six stations, stated firm spokesman Dan Passe. Nikola and Voltera will cowl the remaining portion. They’ll be designed to refuel as much as 100 vehicles a day, with the primary ones opening late this 12 months and in early 2024. Nikola stated in Might it aimed to open 50 HYLA stations with Voltera by 2028.
Nikola’s battery-powered Tre vehicles, which went into manufacturing final 12 months, go about 300 miles per cost, whereas the hydrogen gas cell model will go about 500 miles per fueling. Truck builders together with Daimler, Volvo, Toyota and Hyundai, like Nikola, see hydrogen as a greater possibility for electrical vehicles than batteries as they aren’t as heavy and could be refueled extra quickly.
At the moment, there are just about no public hydrogen gas stations within the U.S. designed to deal with semi-trucks, although California has greater than 50 hydrogen stations for passenger automobiles just like the Toyota Mirai sedan and Hyundai NEXO crossover.
Individually, Nikola stated it delivered 45 battery vehicles within the second quarter of 2023.
Shares of Nikola gained 4.4% to shut at $1.43 in Nasdaq buying and selling on Wednesday.