Anheuser-Busch Orders *800 Fuel Cell Semi Trucks From Nikola

MAY 3 2018 BY MARK KANE 147

The Anheuser-Busch brewing corporation announced an order placement for up to 800 hydrogen fuel cell semi-trucks from Nikola Motor Company.

The company intends to convert its entire dedicated fleet to renewable power by 2025. The first Nikola trucks will be delivered in 2020 with capability of driving between 500 and 1,200 miles and refilling within 20 minutes.

Anheuser-Busch earlier reserved 40 all-electric Tesla Semis, but with this latest announcement of 800 for Nikola, the shift has focused on FCVs. Guess that the Tesla Semi visit to the hometown of Budweiser in March didn’t help out much.

For us it seems that Anheuser-Busch doesn’t believe in long-haul trucking using only batteries at this stage.

NIkola One

“Through this agreement Anheuser-Busch aims to convert its entire long-haul dedicated fleet to renewable powered trucks by 2025. Nikola’s cutting-edge technology will enable the brewer to achieve this milestone across its long-haul loads, while also helping to improve road safety through the trucks’ advanced surround viewing system.”

Read Also – Tesla Semi Range Likely To Be 600 Miles, Not 500

The trucks are expected to cost, on average, around $400,000, according to Reuters.

Michel Doukeris, CEO of Anheuser-Busch said:

“At Anheuser-Busch we’re continuously searching for ways to improve sustainability across our entire value chain and drive our industry forward. The transport industry is one that is ripe for innovative solutions and Nikola is leading the way with hydrogen-electric, zero-emission capabilities. We are very excited by the possibilities our partnership with them can offer.”

Trevor Milton, CEO of Nikola Motor Company said:

“Hydrogen-electric technology is the future of logistics and we’re proud to be leading the way. Anheuser-Busch has a long history of investing in progressive, sustainable technology and we are excited to partner with them to bring the largest hydrogen network in the world to the USA. By 2028, we anticipate having over 700 hydrogen stations across the USA and Canada. With nearly 9 billion dollars in pre-order reservations, we are building to order, not speculation, and are very excited for what’s to come.”

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147 Comments on "Anheuser-Busch Orders *800 Fuel Cell Semi Trucks From Nikola"

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Ok – so summarize:

Annheuser Busch has seen the Tesla Semi truck and the Nikola FCV truck.

The Telsa Semi is announced for prodcution in 2020, same as the Nikola FCV

The Tesla Semi is announced to cost less than half of what the Nikola costs.

And putting all that together, Annheuser is ordering up to 800 of the twice as expensive trucks and only 50 of the Tesla Semi ones so far.

If you go by the saying “put your money where your mouth is”, this cannot be any clearer of what they think of Tesla’s Semi.

Good luck to Nikola! Hooray for renewable energy transportation and down with stinking Diesel 😉

Different horse for different courses. Tesla for day trip and more local where there are not Nikola fueling stations.

And where are there Hydrogen refueling stations? We know electricity is everywhere, not so convinced about hydrogen though.

Speaking of “money where your mouth is” – remember Tesla requires a deposit, Nikola does not. *I* could “order 800 Nikolas”. It’s pretty meaningless at the moment.

i just ordered 945,556 nikolie trucks for zero$ down!

Haha – touche. But somehow I put a little more stock in Annheusers publicly announced plans than in yours 😉

You know – if Annheuser had said they put down 50 reservations for the Telsa Semi, but thinking of buying up to 800, they 800 number would have been the headline of the article.

The Nikola is certainly the better looking of the two.

What’s with this sudden huge grille on the nose of the rendered red Nikola?!

So you like that over sleek and aero?

It is a refundable deposit – so also not very meaningful unless you think that Tesla has a high chance of going under until then. Non-refundable deposit, now that would be a totally different story.

Considering where the hydrogen comes from it is more fossil than the diesel used today.

The choice of making non-fossil hydrogen is a lot more expensive…For trucking companies cost is everything.

Cost of fueling is including in Nikola’s cost.

For 2 years.

Considering the numbers contracted for, compared to their overall fleet, these are both just evaluation fleets. They’ll rack up a few million miles and decide which is cheaper to operate per mile, and then go all in with one or the other.


They’re halo fleets so that the customer can say “Hey look, we’re green!”

800 trucks would be a heck of a lot bigger than just an “evaluation fleet”.

But since Nikola’s truck will almost certainly never actually enter production, Anheuser-Busch will never actually buy even one.

I guess Annheuser Busch thought the Nikola business case was viable and placed their orders / reservations on what was presented. It is hard to believe this is a publicity stunt.

When you look at this in light of Tesla’s comments regarding their Semi project on the conference call, it does warrant additional discussion. None of these large corporate entities are going to finalize these purchases unless they have test data they can independently validate.

It would have been nice during the Q1 2018 conference call if Elon had spoke to the sales process and concerns potential buyers have expressed.

The Hyperchange questions IMO could have taken place in an online 1-1 conversation with Elon as they did not answer substantive FINANCIAL concerns but were along the lines of the CBS Morning event.

When Gail (CBS) takes Elon up on a next visit, maybe Galileo Russell can serve as a Junior Journalist.

What I read was AB was going to convert it’s entire fleet to “renewable energy” by 2025. It didn’t specify Tesla or Nikola trucks. Also title says “up to 800 Nikola trucks” so I’m guessing it’s not a firm commitment. Only time will tell.

Is it just me or is the $220k delta going to pay for a lot of electricity? They could even buy two trucks from Tesla with money to spare for the price of the Nikola One at $400k.

Is it just me or do Tesla prices rise dramatically between pitching the idea and purchasing time? 😉

It’s just you. 😏

Says Philip as he looks admirably at his $27,500 Model 3 in his garage. 😉 😉

Tesla’s truck is not a long haul truck with a sleeper cabin and passenger space capable of going 1200 miles between stops.

Not yet.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

What’s the cost to fill the tank of the Hydrogen Truck and what’s the cost to fill the battery of the Tesla?

On top of that, what’s the cost to prop up a charge/filling station for the Tesla and also the Hydrogen?

Curious on why they chose Nikola.

I recall that Nikola includes the lifetime fuel in the up front cost of the vehicle. That could make a big difference….

In my opinion (note that’s opinion, not fact), It’s also one of several indications that Nikola is a sham company, of the type that spends most of the money it gets from investors on executive salaries and perks, and fritter away part of the money on pretend R&D, without ever actually producing a commercial product. That’s the “business model” of scam companies like BlackLight Power.

If Nikola was actually going to produce trucks like this in quantity, then buying all the fuel for them would rapidly bankrupt the company. Toyota can afford to do that with a relatively tiny number of Mirai fool cell cars, but only because Toyota is a large company with lots of income. Nicola has no such luxury.

Wait, you mean like offering up your semi customers $.07kWh rates meanwhile the cost of electricity is actually significantly more expensive than that never mind the cost to buy the land, put in the mega chargers, and maintain them? Because if yes, then I agree on both fronts.

You forgot Tesla builds high efficiency solar and also makes the best batteries in the world. Tesla CAN produce electricity at that price.

Where’s the hydrogen going to come from?
Cracking water? That’s more expense then electricity.
Converting Methane to Hydrogen? You’ve just added an expensive conversion process to your fuel supply. Stupid, and it releases carbon and methane into the atmosphere.
Stupid idea.

Except they can’t… just because you say something doesn’t make it true. A crap load of PV panels cost $, power packs cost $, megachargers cost $, the land to put all these in costs $$$, the interest on those purchases costs $. Sorry but a system that is capable of delivering power at these levels and then regenerating enough power for the next truck is going to be insanely expensive. As a result they will just get grid power which is for the most part going to be more than $.07 before even factoring in demand charges that while the batteries will help with there will still be a lot of demand charges!

Hey, please make sure to bring us an article for each and every customer Nikiola signs up. *sarcasm*

P.S. If this was so easily doable why haven’t they rolled these solutions out to the SC sites?? Why did some states rates go up more than 50%?

Because facts matter more than unsubstantiated wishes.

While you make some good points, that merely obscures the truth, which is that your “argument” boils down to trying to suggest that Nikola’s plan must be realistic because (you think) Tesla’s plan isn’t.

Amazing how every single discussion here gets dragged off-topic to talk about Tesla. If Tesla Inc. vanished from the face of the Earth tomorrow, that would not in any way affect whether or not Nikola has a viable business plan.

Notice how the well documented serial anti-Tesla troll DJ hypocritically points out: Tesla needs PV, Powerpacks, land, etc (in some cases)….BUT conveniently leaves out the fact that for Nikola to hydrolize H2 they would need EVEN MORE PV, land and VERY EXPENSIVE H2 fueling stations etc to make an equivalent amount of H2 fuel per milel??? Bottom line is that based on the basic physics, a BEV vehicle powered by RE will ALWAYS be far, far cheaper to fuel then an H2 vehicle so the economic advantage goes to Tesla’s solution big time. I bet that if Nikola gets any trucks into service their H2 will be either heavily subsidized or more likely be diesel trucked in (with all its attendant pollution) from NatGas steam reformation from Big Oil (who are probably backing Nikola along with the Koch Heads). Nikola is almost certainly a company set up to delay and attempt to divert the inevitable transition to a sustainable trucking transportation system by throwing out a false alternative. As already pointed out, Nikola carefully timed their Patent Trolling announcement and this AB “UP TO” 800 truck order to coincide with Tesla’s quarterly report which is in and of itself very… Read more »

Exactly. Nikola fuel costs cannot even come close to that of Teslas.

Maybe with dirty, CO2 polluting steam-reforming of methane but not even with that since even current steam-reformed H2 is totally non-competetitive with electricity or even petrol. (Which is why Toyota pays for it instead of allowing massive sticker shock at the first refueling of the Mirai owners)

Multiple technology breakthroughs will be needed to bring down renewable H2 production, storage and distribution to the level of electricity from solar arrays + megachargers (charger + buffering batteries). These are not even here in the laboratories, let alone successfully commercialized.

Also, automotive-grade fuel-cell stack + H2 storage-tank costs are not even price competitive with Tesla electric motors and batteries.

Nikola seems like a sham company riding the fool-cell bandwagon.

Tesla is trying to get to profitibility. Once they have Apple amounts of free cash then we’ll see all kinds of cool stuff. Better to spend your money on a battery factory and production line for a Model 3 at the moment. Nice gotcha though.

No, there will be no demand charges or very minimal.

Tesla will have specific production PPAs with new solar power plants and large-scale distribution contracts with the utilities serving their mega-chargers.

They will pay utility-distribution costs but nothing like the ridiculous TOU surcharges normal consumers pay for electricity.

Sorry, dude. The average national cost in the USA for industrial electrical power is a bit less than 7¢/kWh, so your analogy FAILS.

Now, you do have a point about the cost of installation not being covered… but did Tesla say it would provide the Megachargers for free? I don’t believe so! It could well be that Tesla will install Megachargers anywhere that trucking fleets pay to have them installed. I’m not ready to predict that, but at the moment I think that’s the most likely scenario.

The average industrial cost excluding demand charges is $.07/kWh however it is a lot higher in many states, many states that have large populations, many states that require a lot of shipping to get goods to their people…

So again the promised 7 cents is either a lie or it’s gonna be a loss for them.

Those are the facts, just because you don’t like them doesn’t change that which is the beauty of them.

What’s the cost of H2 again? Not for the customer, but for Nikola?

The at-the-pump retail cost is around $14-16 per kg. Probably somewhat less wholesale, but not that much less because a lot of the cost is the ridiculously high cost of building and maintaining an H2 fueling station, which Nikola claims to estimate at $10 million apiece. That might actually be a reasonable figure, assuming the stations would not be, hypothetically, called on to refill more than a dozen or so trucks per day.

Unfortunately, H2 fueling stations don’t benefit much from economy of scale. The required equipment is too expensive.

How many kg / mi do these trucks use? It sounds like one hell of a lot of H2 will be involved.
Does Nikola have any other products? The only thing I know about them is this fanciful truck of dubious reality.
If Toyota has been making Mirai (how long now?) And barely scratched the surface, plus heavily subsidising the H2, it does not make sense how Nikola will achieve what they want. Now if H2 was already well established I’d think differently, but this company sounds like an early adopter who will single handedly uplift the H2 industry. No doubt there are other players, but the evidence is California being the single biggest H2 infrastructure and still struggling with it.
I think their ambition far outweighs their ability. But their ability to sucker in trucking companies seems pretty good (although zero$deposit means anyone can claim anything at this point).

“The average industrial cost excluding demand charges is $.07/kWh however it is a lot higher in many states, many states that have large populations…”

Doubling down on your serial Tesla-bashing FUD doesn’t make it any more true, Mr. Troll.

The average cost is the average cost, period. Tesla can afford to average out costs over the entire nation, because that’s where they’ll be selling their truck. Duh!

BTW — This article is about Nikola’s truck, not Tesla’s. Your Tesla bashing isn’t merely trolling, it’s also off-topic.

I’ve tried in the past Pushi to politely say you don’t know what you are talking about. If fast chargers had constant draw over 3 shifts (basically 24 hour a day continuous operation), then the average cost would be 7 cents / kwh. Superchargers cost tesla more than this since the usage is not all that constant over any 24 hour period. It remains to be seen how many peak hours of demand will be used at the typical recharging location, which Musk has to these ears stated the cost for the customer will be $.07 kwh – whether that is power drawn from the source, or is the power delivered to the side of the truck – to date has been unspecified. But you always criticize others here – especially new people. – when you have no idea how this actually works out yourself. As far as a ‘typical factory’ goes, I asked the CEO of HARBEC Plastics – a plastics factory in suburban Rochester (ONTARIO) NY, what his facility paid out, and he told me on average it works out for him to be around 14 cents per kwh, and he works 3 shifts 6 days a week… Read more »

If people can sell $0.07/kWh profitably now, what’s so unbelievable about Tesla being able to do that with their own panels and batteries a few years from now


The 7c national average is completely meaningless.

There are mid-2017 utility PPAs for solar PV power plants below 4c in the US. That will probably go down to 2c by the time semis start refuel in numbers.

From what I have heard from businesses around where I live Tesla does not offer to pay for the land or preparations of the land where they install the superchargers. They offer to pay for the cost of the superchargers, grid connection and electricity, but expect the landowner to provide the space for superchargers. They also expext the landowner to pay a fee for every chargingsession as cars charging are customers to their business either it is a mall, cafe, diner, shop etc.

Actually you’re describing Tesla’s arrangement with business owners for Tesla Destination Chargers, not Superchargers. But that’s okay, since my guess is that Tesla’s business plan for the Megachargers needed for the Tesla Semi Trucks will be quite similar to the arrangement for Destination Chargers, and not Superchargers.

In fact, my guess is that Tesla will require the trucking fleet operators to pay for all the costs of the Megachargers. My guess is that Tesla won’t provide those for free. That would be different than its arrangement for Destination Chargers, where Tesla gives the first two to a business location for free.

Of course that’s just a guess on my part, but with the promise of only 7¢/kWh for electricity, and the surprisingly low cost for the Tesla Semi Trucks themselves, Tesla doesn’t appear to have “baked in” the cost of Megachargers to their prices, which suggests to me that they’ll be passing along the entire cost of installing Megachargers to their customers.

In fact, on the recent earnings/investor call, Elon said that customers might want to use their own charging equipment. That strongly suggests to me that Tesla isn’t going to give them away for free. Free is hard to beat!

Perhaps the cost of mega chargers will be baked into the semi cost. Whichever way I look at it, Tesla must expect insanely low battery costs. Otherwise it’s hard to make sense of this

“meanwhile the cost of electricity is actually significantly more expensive ”

Not so. Power Purchase Agreements prices for solar and NG were at 7c/kWh back in 2015 and both have continued to fall since. Solar PPAs below 4cents per are common now.

We can expect the cost of solar to continue to decline for the foreseeable future. With the cost of battery storage falling even faster in 5-10 years solar+battery will be difficult to beat.

Exactly. And Tesla is already making both

Exactly my point.

I think ~2c PPAs will be realistic in 2022. Already achieved in Dubai and around (excellent resource + low financing + huge scales).

There are currently huge solar PV manufacturing capacity additions so equipment prices will go much lower.

I expect that Tesla will announce some GW-level PPA signed with a solar PV plant developer at ~2020 for 2022 deliveries.

It’s not uncommon for large commercial accounts to contract for power at around that price, no green magic necessary.

If you were here in 🇦🇹 you could buy your kWh at 7cents from my solar installation.

Even my solar array produces at ~7c/kWh LCOE and this is a small 12kWh residential array installed in a developed country at 2017 cost rates.

By 2021-22, when meaningful number of Semis start refueling at mega-chargers, solar PPAs at utility-sized arrays will be below 2c/kWh in the US: There were mid-2017 reports for below 4c rates.

Add distribution and megacharger CAPEX+OPEX (e.g. mega-charger battery) and 7c/kWh may actually bring in some 0.7c – 1c profit for Tesla. A 10-15% profit, not shabby at all

They could be assuming breakthroughs in techniques to create hydrogen by 2020, just like Tesla is assuming breakthroughs to lower the cost of the battery by 2020.

No, not at all like that. Tesla doesn’t have to “assume” Panasonic will have lower prices in 2020; they know what Panasonic is working on and what Panasonic’s plans are for putting newer chemistry into production.

Contrariwise, fool cell fanboys (and those promoting the “hydrogen economy” hoax) have been predicting the price for hydrogen will plunge once more H2 fueling stations are built. Well, more have been built over the past three years, and the price hasn’t dropped in the slightest from the $14-16 that it was three years ago.

There isn’t any realistic way to substantially lower the cost of H2 at a filling station. You’d have to repeal the Laws of Physics to do so. That is a well-established fact which fool cell fanboys refuse to face.


“. . . the price hasn’t dropped in the slightest from the $14-16 that it was three years ago.”

Wrong again fool. Pu-Pu is spreading FUD and BS as usual. Dude, why do you ALWAYS pretend to be the preeminent authority on things of which you know nothing about?

It’s a documented fact that over a year ago the price of hydrogen dropped to $9.99 per kilogram at several fueling stations in California.$10-per-kilogram.aspx

HydrogenRates is a crowdsourced website which lists the current price of hydrogen at California fueling stations. Of the 34 Retail Hydrogen stations in California, 23 have their prices posted on the HydrogenRates website with 5 stations listing a price of $9.99/kg, and a 6th station at $11.60/kg.

With Toyota, Honda, & Hyundai paying for the fueling of their hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, there isn’t much incentive for hydrogen stations to lower their prices. Once automakers stop offering to pay for the fueling of the new HFCVs that they sell, the price of hydrogen will drop across the board at all the hydrogen stations.

Complete, total, utter B.S. $10/kg is obviously a subsidized price, not a retail price. In fact, I saw a comment less than a week ago that somebody paid ~$16.50/kg for H2 at a California hydrogen fueling station, so if anything, the price is going up.

It’s very obvious that you’re shilling for Big Oil, troll.

A high throughput hydrogen station would receive deliveries of liquid hydrogen, which is not that expensive. For example, the transit system in Canton, Ohio has HFC buses and pays $4.50/kg for liquid hydrogen that is trucked in hundreds of miles from a plant in Canada.

The above reply was to Clarkson Cote.

The old system of nested comments was much better than the way replies are now showing up under the new system.

Only if those assumed breakthroughs to create H2 include breaking the currently known laws of physics.

Exactly. You have to be a science denier to believe that the retail cost of H2 fuel can be brought down substantially.

As former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said, making hydrogen-fueled vehicles practical “…would take four miracles, and saints need only three!” 😉

Given the complexity of installing H2 stations this seems difficult– I can’t imagine the requirements for filling up a Nikola truck. Filling a Nikola semi probably involves non-trivial infrastructure at the truck depot.

obNote: H2 filling requires high pressure, which is directly proportional to the VOLUME of the vehicle you’re filling– when the Mirai came out they had filling-station-on-a-truck installations at various dealers in the Bay Area– which were only able to generate enough pressure to half-fill a Mirai.

At the time, the only H2 station in the Bay Area– which is basically green-vehicle central for the entire country– was in Emeryville, which is just across the bridge from San Francisco. There are more now, but it SERIOUSLY lags the BEV charging infrastructure.

Right. H2 fueling stations for the Mirai and similar fool cell passenger cars cost $1 million per dozen cars filled in a day, which is an absurdly high cost compared to a gasoline filling station. The cost for a station that could handle fool cell semi trucks, at something like ten times greater volume of H2 in a day… well, let’s just say the cost would be substantially higher.

Mr. Google says that Nikola estimates the cost for building its planned H2 fueling stations at $10 million apiece. That appears to be a realistic estimate, so long as each station only has to handle a dozen or so trucks per day!

About 50 kg H2/500 miles (~800 km). $14/1 kg => $700/500 miles. 1 MWh of electricity (also for 500 miles) varies from $100 to $200.
But there is much bigger problem. Most advanced hydrogen stations are able to produce maximum of 500 kg H2/day, it costs about 4 milion dollars, so you need at least 1 advanced private hydrogen station per every 10 trucks!
Hope you understand my english 🙂

Your English is almost impeccable, and your logic is even better! 🙂

I predict that this will end with a lot of finger-pointing at A-B. “I didn’t approve buying all those stupid trucks… it was that other guy!”

First Tesla doesn’t have a solution for a long haul truck with a 500-1200 mile range. Second given the range you would probably only need a couple of fuel stations along major routes. Even Tesla’s mega charger would more than likely would be at very specific points.

Fast Charging.

It works just fine in the US with the current rules for operation. A driver isn’t allowed to drive more than 11 hours a day over a 14 hour stretch. And only then as long as they receive a 10 hour break between days. “Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers are limited to 11 cumulative hours driving in a 14-hour period, following a rest period of no less than 10 consecutive hours.”

So a Tesla semi that has a 500-600 mile range would drive 350 miles at 65 mph for 5.5 hours. Taking the required 3 hour break they could easily have a full battery to finish the day driving the next 350 miles for 5.5 hours. Or they could split up the daily hours into thirds with shorter stops with shorter charge time.

Notice the bed in the Nikola and room for a passenger? You can have more than one driver in a truck.

Yes, but very few semi trucks run with more than one driver. The salary for each driver is substantial for a trucking firm, and paying double that usually doesn’t make financial sense.

Husband and wife teams

If this truck is-a-rockin’, don’t come-a-knockin’

How many husband and wife teams drive for large companies? As opposed to being their own LLC’s? My (pure) guess is that single owner/operators (and their wives) cannot afford a Nikola truck. Sales will be almost exclusively to large companies who are cost conscious. IF platooning works and is allowed by regulators, my guess is most large bean counting corporations will go that route rather than paying a husband and his wife.

By *very specifically* avoiding the long-haul trucking market Tesla VERY MUCH simplifies the equation.

Most of the people who have committed to Tesla semis are planning on using them for short-to-medium range travel over very defined routes.

If they can’t use a Tesla on a particular route they can either put in charging at an opportune point or rework the routes, or in case of an intractable issue, use an ICE truck for that route.

Most of the trucks that Walmart has, for example, will be spending part of the work day at a distribution center, where Walmart (and Tesla) can install centralized infrastructure to recharge the vehicles.

This is NOT long-haul trucking, where the infrastructure and routing are NOT well-defined and not under the control of the owner of the vehicles.

Case in point– the prototype Tesla trucks are going from the Gigafactory to the Fremont plant and back. Tesla can have the infrastructure at both ends to keep the trucks going, and all they have to be able to do is make it over Donner Summit. Most of the customers of the Tesla semi will have similar requirements.

$14/Kg won’t last. When the equipment is mass produced the price of the stations will plummet. It takes ~50 kWh to electrolyze 1 Kg of hydrogen and at $0.02 cents per kWh (the latest Solar low price records in Chile and the Middle East) we are talking about $1.00/Kg (add a few cents for compression). At that price, a full tank of H2 in a Mirai costs ~$5.00 – less than supercharging.

The key to the future of hydrogen is now China and their “Made in 2025” goals- they will crush the prices of everything related to hydrogen. Many people in the US have no idea that China is prioritizing fuel cells.

Fool cell fanboys have been predicting that the at-the-pump price for H2 fuel would fall to $4-5 for several years now. Sadly for their wishful thinking, the pernicious hydrogen molecule stubbornly refuses to magically change into something that would make a practical and affordable fuel, and the non-subsidized price of H2 remains at around $14-16.

The only fool here is you Pu-Pu. For the past year several fueling stations in California have been selling hydrogen for $9.99/kg. See my reply to your comment above.$10-per-kilogram.aspx

What part of “that’s a subsidized cost, not a retail cost” do you not understand?

Here’s a quote from a recent (April 2018) article:

“Currently, a kilogram of H35 hydrogen fuel—equivalent to a gallon of gas—at the T.O. station costs $16.43, so a fill-up is around $80 considering the average tanks hold around 5 kilograms.

“At that price, the operating cost of the cars is around 20 cents per mile, as opposed to the 13-cents-per mile cost of operating the average gas-driven automobile.” (source below)

It’s obvious that you and others who promote the “hydrogen economy” hoax don’t actually believe your own propaganda, because you never make any claims which are actually true. If you honestly believed that H2 can be a practical fuel, then you’d find some honest arguments to support your claims.



The price of hydrogen in California is already down to $9.99/kg.

Is that price subsidized in any way?

Of course it’s subsidized, but a fool cell fanboy will never admit it!

Don’t you still need to recover your captial costs, labour costs and transport costs? All well and good that the H2 process costs $0.02/kWh but that is not the only cost that will be passed onto the filing station.
You can do your own maths, but if the filing station costs $1mil to build and last 20yrs then that is $50k per year, $136 per day, $5.70 per hour. IF you can fill one car every 5min 24hrs per day 365 days of the year then it cost $0.47 per fill. So your $5.00 per fill is now $5.47. you will not get 100% occupancy, so let’s say 1/3 occupancy now it cost you $6.42 per fill. I’m sure there is someone working for the company, probably more than one person, so have you made any money to pay their wages? And do you want to make a profit (how much?), so you can see the cost really couldn’t be as low as you say just with this really rough back of the napkin maths.

And how many Tesla mega chargers would you you need for every 10 trucks? You’re also assuming liquid hydrogen isn’t trucked in like gas is now.

I did the math on this one time using 30 minute charging times vs normal ice truck stop fuel isles and it came out 3 times as many so a TS with 9 isles would need minimum of 27 isles, that a LOT of real estate good luck with that in alway crowded metro areas

I’m pro EV but when the numbers grow there are definitely issues in the future not yet dealt with

Another Euro point of view

I believe the Tesla semi reservations had often more to do with advertisement than for actually transporting things. I mean Tesla production delays and general optimism is well known by now. It is probably OK for private individuals to wait 9 months for a car that eventually cost way more than the first announced price but I don’t think this would work for a transporter that needs the vehicles to actually do business. Moreover according to last earnings call the semi is not a priority for Tesla anymore. If I am right Musk said they did not know when nor where this truck would be produced. Also Tesla made announcement about the 0-60 mph performance of the semi but did not specify the weight nor the payload (!?). I believe information about the payload would been way more useful to transporters than 0-60 performance.

Re: where this truck would be produced — gigafactory from other articles

I’ll make a prediction right now: There is no way that Nikola is ever gonna make 800 of these trucks. Nor even 80. In fact, if they produce even 8, I’ll be surprised.

Tesla is already using their Semi’s for their own transport need from NV to CA. Giving them low cost transport.

But you are not going to apply this same analysis to a truck company that has never produced one truck or any vehicle for that matter? So in your view Nikola will have no problem building 1000s of fc trucks not having ever built one single thing and without any factory yet built but Tesla doesn’t stand a chance of meeting any of their orders?

Were not analysts applying the same criticisms to Tesla just a few minutes (OK years) ago? And might those like Nikola who follow Tesla might benefit from its mistakes as well as what it has done correctly?

True but look at other car startups. Faraday Future, LeEco, Detroit Motor Company, Elio Motors, etc. not to mention the Apple car, Dyson’s car, etc. The car business is hard, and Tesla is a very rare exception. Can lightning strike twice? Sure. Will it? I guess we’ll see.

“Were not analysts applying the same criticisms to Tesla just a few minutes (OK years) ago?”

Tesla had a workable business plan, contrary to what many analysts thought in its early years. Nikola does not. A much better comparison to Nikola would be Faraday Future, whose claims were about as unrealistic as Nikola’s are.

Part of the reason that Musk announced the vehicle so early is that truck purchases are not like car purchases– this is a capital outlay for businesses and they need more runway on a decision of this size– they also need to be able to try the new solution before they can implement it fully.

This is why most of the Tesla Semi customers have put in small orders– they’ll implement it in a small area, say Dallas or Little Rock, and see how it works. This isn’t going to be a situation where Walmart buys 5000 trucks– they’ll put in 50 in Memphis, for example, then they will put 100 in Phoenix, and so on.

Companies that run their own trucking infrastructure are purchasing new vehicles *all the time*.

Well said. Trucking companies are going to want to buy a small testing fleet and run it for some time — perhaps a year or more? — before making any decision on buying in quantity. So the sooner Tesla can gauge the potential market for their BEV Semi Truck, the sooner they can make realistic plans for putting it into production. (Well, with Elon in charge, the term “realistic” may be an overstatement. 😉 )

Tesla Sem info shared (At Reveal): 0-60 in 5 seconds with Cab & Empty Trailer; 0-60 in 20 seconds at 80,000 Pounds Gross Weight!

Mark, they’re LEASING UP TO 800 at $.90/mile which is about the same cost as a diesel semi…

Than it makes zero cents.


Some of the major outlets are reporting $.90/mile lease, but here’s the best detailed breakdown:

“Everything, including the tires and windshield wipers,” Milton said. The company has said its leases typically will be priced at about 90 cents a mile. Ryder Services handles all of Nikola’s sales, service and warranty work.

Long-haul delivery trucks such as those used by Anheuser-Busch can easily rack up a million miles or more in lifetime usage, for a $900,000 cost per truck for a million miles.

That’s competitive with diesel costs, said Ties Soeters, the brewing company’s vice president for logistics procurement. “The business case makes sense,” he said.

Anheuser-Busch ordered a combination of Nikola One sleeper cab and Nikola Two day cab models. All of Nikola’s trucks are equipped with the hardware to provide the capability for fully autonomous driving, but those features won’t be activated until proven safe and properly regulated, Milton said.”

Good much needed positive news for Nikola but…

My guess there is more to this story… such as perhaps most or all of the 800 Anheuser-Busch order is on a “non-binding order” basis and/or contingent of Nikola delivering on certain target benchmarks on a pre-determined timeline. There is absolutely no way Anheuser-Busch is entering into a regular PO with Nikola for 800 trucks.

Perhaps INSIDEEVs can dig into this news article a tad more past the press release considering the magnitude of the order… looking forward to the UPDATE.

It appears that indeed there is more to the story…

“Beer giant Anheuser-Busch Co. LLC said today it placed an order for up to 800…”

“Nikola leases its vehicles at a rate of 90 cents to $1 per mile… Its leasing arrangements are managed by rental and leasing giant Ryder System Inc., which serves as Nikola’s exclusive distribution and maintenance provider.”

“[Anheuser-Busch De Ryck said]: Anheuser-Busch will not favor one type of vehicle over the other…We see both solutions as complimentary””


My takeaway from all this is that the “up to” are the operative keywords to this 800 order announcement. Anheuser-Busch has not selected Nikola over Tesla… instead Anheuser-Busch has cleverly pitted Tesla and Nikola against each other and plan to give their business to the company that can best deliver low TCO. I think it’s a long- shot for Nikola to deliver on the Hydrogen infrastructure… Tesla Semi is likely going to win this competition.

Nailed it. This was well-timed to run after the lawsuit and Q1 earnings review at TSLA. Nikola M. has the offer of a lease per mile. Tesla said “hey, if you want one, here’s the deposit price.” This is 95% press and 5% interest. Anheuser-Busch owes nothing to Nikola M. and that is why this was free news. I am all for market competition and happy about this move. However, I do wish that they had to put down at least some substantial deposit. It’s clear that patent trolling is the surest sign of cash issues with start-ups.

“…patent trolling is the surest sign of cash issues with start-ups.”

That is a very good point. I’ll add that to my list of signs that Nikola is an investment scam company, and thus very unlikely to ever sell anything.

What is missing from this equation is about five billion in cash flow, automotive manufacturing labor and experience, and a factory, which supposedly happens this October, but I cannot find much about it other than “Arizona.” Did I miss those pieces of the puzzle? The Nikola Zero should be headed to the factory by now. Unless their plan is to be bought out, I feel like they are going to be doing coach builds in the low rent parts of Salt Lake City. This is all I could find about them: I get the emotion of progress, believe me. However, fiscal analysis still has to be part of the equation of determining reality. Funding initial production off patent trolling is very risky. Tesla Legal has far too much experience and pockets deep enough to out cash Nikola Motors, under the wild assumption that there is a chance they will succeed. Tesla just has to burn $5 million on this fight to make the lawsuit and Nikola Motors go away. It was a stupid move, a desperate move, and the surest sign that they can’t pull this off on their own. There are good partnerships in place, this headlining but… Read more »

I SO hope you’re wrong about them being a scam. A revelation like that could give those who decry the clean transport industry more ammunition. “See, all these companies are scams!”

I don’t see that the (very predictable) collapse of Faraday Future has caused everyone to set their hair on fire and denounce EVs as a scam. Nor (Project) Better Place, either… altho in my opinion that wasn’t a scam, it was a case of a very persuasive entrepreneur who became so caught up in his hopes for a “green” future that he completely ignored the need for a viable business model.

It’s often very hard for outsiders to tell the difference between self-delusion and outright scam, partly because people are capable of “scamming” themselves.

As time goes on, it will become more clear that Nikola is a sham, just as happened with Faraday Future. Whether or not it’s actually an outright scam, or a case of delusion (like Better Place)… well, nobody would know except those directly involved in the company, and it may well be that even most of those involved don’t know.

It’s cleaerer that (1) robust defense of patents is not uncommon and (2) insuring the integrity of your IP portfolio is not “trolling”.

Legitimate defense of legitimate patents certainly isn’t patent trolling. But Nikola trying to sue Tesla for the ridiculously large amount of $2 billion, claiming that Tesla stole their truck design… Well, not that I know all that much about such things, but given what I do know, it’s hard to imagine a more obvious case of patent trolling.

MAN Trucks also has a similar design; see picture linked below. Is Nikola gonna sue them, too? Any semi tractor design heavily leaning on wind tunnel tests is likely to have a similar shape. That’s not patent infringement, that’s engineering.

Telsa Semi is already a fail as it has only 2000 reservations

The FAIL here is your Tesla bashing FUD.

Tesla conference call. “Not actively selling” the product.
Because there’s NO assembly line yet.

THESE ARE NOT CARS. 2000 reservations for something like this is a reasonable amount. 2000 semis at $150k EACH is 300 million dollars, and that is with TWO of them on the road at present. Remember, most of these customers are going to do a smaller, phased rollout of possibly thousands of vehicles if they are successful. This isn’t individuals buying a car to drive to work every day– this is an inroad into someone like Walmart, which owns 6000 trucks.

It seems very unlikely that the execs of Anhauser-Busch are foolish enough to believe the promises of someone promoting a “fool cell” truck. They surely must know that it will cost far more to run a semi truck on hydrogen than on diesel. So why would they want to buy a sizable number of fool cell trucks? I could perhaps see the purpose of buying a few of them to use for “greenwashing” publicity, but if they’re actually gonna buy 800 of these insanely impractical things…

Well then, this is only the first chapter in what will turn out to be a story with a very unhappy ending!

On second thought, since it is (in my opinion) extremely unlikely that Nikola will ever mass-produce this truck, there won’t be much finger-pointing at A-B. Much more likely, just some future disappointment that Nikola never got around to actually putting its touted truck into production.

Where are all the wall street analysts discussing Nikola?

They are not. Nikola Motors has less than $3 M in annual revenue. That is less than what a single supermarket makes, or an 10-15 person IT consulting company, maybe a sports bar, but not a heavy manufacturer. Why would they bother with such a small organization with no notable, existing financial backers? They need to bring serious investments in before I am going to regard them as a credible manufacturer. 25 employees? Hire 100 times that, and you could probably make the Nikola Zero. 1000 times that and 2000 times the cash, and I could see the truck come to life. There isn’t any money in this. Cummins is building a hybrid, maybe a PHEV, but I can’t see Daimler, Volvo and a whole host of truck manufacturers letting the market for change pass them by. Nikola Motors has a chance if they are bought out for their R&D. Sad reality is that they are behind too many other existing truck manufacturers who have already shown off their BEV and PHEV working prototypes. What I can see is Bollinger or Workhorse scaling up, to answer what BYD is doing. Maybe a merger or collaborative with New Flyer or Proterra.… Read more »

Thanks for that reality check, Vexar!

So then, Nikola doesn’t deserve all the coverage it’s getting here at InsideEVs. Nikola’s plans are multiple orders of magnitude bigger than its funding, yet they’re hyping themselves as if they can rival Tesla.

Nikola is looking more and more like Faraday Future, and FF had better funding!

My opinion here… don’t know if this is fact:

Nikola made a bad strategic decision to chase hydrogen… it’s turned out to be a one-way dead end road… senior management now sees the dead end sign and has concluded best they can hope for is Hail Mary $$$ legal settlement against Tesla which seems their new strategy… they can’t build value for themselves so new strategy is to sue it out of Tesla.

True. Damages would be very low for a company that isn’t actually viable.

Now Nikola has to produce trucks or wall street will not fund them. But where are all the wall street analysts discussing Nikola?

I’m even more skeptical than you are. Anybody with even a basic understanding of thermodynamics and/ or the economic concept of EROI will understand that there’s no way a hydrogen-powered truck could ever be a competitive commercial product. When Nikola touted its plan for a natural-gas powered turbine power plant in its semi truck, I was somewhat skeptical that the economics would work, but I was willing to wait and see. It might actually work in Europe, due to the very high taxes on diesel. But when Nikola abandoned its claims for a natural gas powered truck, and started touting fool cell technology instead, then I knew it was just a sham company. Most likely it’s being run as an investment scam, which means they’ll never ever put the truck into production. Trying to actually sell a product would swiftly expose how impractical the tech is, so — assuming it’s a scam, which isn’t a fact but merely my opinion — it will stay in “development” as long as Nikola can continue to bilk investors of money. That type of investment scam has worked for decades for Randell L. Mills and his BlackLight Power company — Mr. Google says he’s… Read more »

Please explain why the subject of thermodynamics enters into the viability of Hydrogen Vehicles. I have my own thoughts but they don’t involve thermodynamics.

Hydrogen is not safe or renewable. Where will they get the fueling? How high a PSI will they have in their tanks for 500-1200 mile range.
They must have had one too many Beers.

The problem with Hydrogen is similar to the problem with E85 and other fuels– it takes VASTLY more energy to create it than you get OUT of it.

That’s entirely factually correct; why would anyone vote down that comment? It looks like some few with an agenda to promote the “hydrogen economy” hoax are down-voting every comment that points out that science and economics do not favor hydrogen-fueled vehicles.

The reason is steam reforming is 60-75% efficient. Car and Truck Fuel cells are today around 60% efficiency, and seem to be getting better. Therefore, using those simple numbers the ‘efficiency’ , which admittedly ignores distribution and transportation losses, is currently 36-45%. The H2 buffs (of which I am not one currently), will say that is not so bad and it is getting better all the time.

“The most common hydrogen production process is natural gas reforming — sometimes called steam methane reforming because it uses high-temperature steam. ”

So the trucks themselves won’t use natural gas, but the ‘fuel’ they require will require natural gas reforming/processing by oil companies. Along with the cost of $3-$6 Million to build a hydrogen fueling station……who’s paying for that…

Maybe Bush will have fueling stations at their locations

But that’s going to be a whole lot of natural gas processing my oil refineries to then state the trucks are emissions-free.

I would imagine Shell, BP, Exxon, etc…

There is a reason why Chevron and Shell Hydrogen are full members of the California Fuel Cell Partnership, which promotes the use of tax money to build hydrogen fueling stations in that State and elsewhere.

If H2 fueling stations in California were really dispensing mostly or entirely “renewable” hydrogen, then those Big Oil & Gas companies wouldn’t be supporters.

The most common source of electricity is natural gas and coal.

Nikola is firmly on the wrong side of the massive chasm that separates prototypes and concepts from mass-produced, reliable products. So many startups underestimate this chasm. The fact that Nikola tried to drum up brand recognition with a handful of overpowered UTV prototypes that have absolutely nothing to do with the product they’re pitching just emphasizes the fact that these guys are in way over their heads.

I give way more credence to Toyota or Kenworth when it comes to H2 trucks, but those guys seem to be quite a few years away from a production vehicle.

Does the same apply to Tesla and it’s. Semi. The Nikola semi looks more like a real semi that can do what it promises.

What do you mean by “looks like”? Based on the renderings and photos of a prototype that may not even be drivable for all we know? Have we even seen any video of a working Nikola truck hauling anything?

Tesla is certainly new at this game, especially when it comes to trucks. But they’ve sold a few hundred thousand vehicles that have cumulated billions of miles. They’ve seen what goes wrong when you make 100,000 copies of a product and put them in customer hands. And Tesla is probably better than any other car company in terms of maximizing the value of those cumulated miles thanks to the rich data they collect from each car remotely.

I’m often more of a Tesla critic, but at least they understand how big a challenge it is to bring a new automotive product to market. I haven’t seen any evidence that Nikola knows how much work they have cut out for them, not have I seen anything to suggest they’ll succeed.

“The Nikola semi looks more like a real semi that can do what it promises.”

Do you actually base your judgement of what is or isn’t viable or practical, not to mention competitive, on nothing but a computer render? Nothing but the artist’s concept drawing which Nikola has shown?

Personally, I’m far more impressed by the two actual functional prototype BEV semi tractors which Tesla built, and has loaned out to various potential customers so they can test them!

Why all the conflict? Could it be that there is sufficient space for both Tesla and Nikola to prosper. After all their competition barely overlap, if at all.

The conflict is due to the hidden agenda (or not so hidden) of most of those promoting the “hydrogen economy” hoax, including hydrogen-powered vehicles such as the one that Nikola is touting. Their agenda is anti-EV and/or anti-Tesla.

It’s very noticeable that any time there is an article on fool cell cars vehicles here at InsideEVs, the same few serial Tesla bashers show up to promote the “hydrogen economy” hoax and fool cell cars. These days, they are pretty much the only ones still arguing that somehow hydrogen-powered cars (or trucks) will become practical. Almost everybody else now understands that the physics and the economics just don’t work, period.

While I’m not a fan of H2 vehicles (I personally believe it is premature, forcing the ‘state of the art’ – but Heck, I might be wrong since seemingly intractable problems are what advances technological advancement), there certainly isn’t any reason why more hydrogen can’t be produced. Per Wikipedia at least, hydrogen production is a $100 Billion a year industry, with 11 million tons of H2 produced per year in the states, and 55 million metric tons per year world wide. . The current bottleneck appears to me to be in the dispenseries, with the large electrical consumption (500 kw for a large station handling many cars per hour), and huge maintenance cost – per the latest information $16/kg of dispensed H2. It is obvious to me at least that new, or modified compressor designs are required to provide sufficient robustness for the station. The HUGE electrical consumption I’m sure will be dealt with by providing engine driven equipment to cut the electrical requirement by 98%. Of course, many EV drivers may not look with enthusiasm at more hydrogen production, as most ev drivers are not thrilled with roughly half the worldwide hydrogen production being produced by oil, and coal.

Nikola is leasing these trucks for a $0.90 per mile and taking all the risk. It’s a sweet deal for customers, low-cost and no obligation.

At today’s prices fuel alone would cost a dollar a mile. So Nikola is going to build fueling stations, produce H2 (from water and solar panels) at less than half current costs so they can have enough money left to build the trucks. This might actually be doable.

“…Nikola is going to build fueling stations, produce H2 (from water and solar panels) at less than half current costs…”

And the Earth is flat, too!

This could have been a really significant announcement if Nikola hadn’t decided to trash their reputation with frivolous lawsuits this week.

Unfortunately I suspect that at its heart, Nikola is being guided by a monumental, deluded ego. Doesn’t bode well for the company’s future.

Completely unlike the quiet, humble servant of mankind running Tesla, lol.


*UP TO* 800 trucks. Big difference. Because they charge no deposit. Easy to say “ordered 800” — show me the money? No? Shut up then.

They’ll probably never get built.

Seems to me the headline is a little bit misleading, isn’t it.

I’d say more than a little.

What is the MTTF of fuel cells? Last I recall, the manufacturing is expensive, and breaks down relatively quickly. It seems that the fuel cells would have to be replaced on a semi-regular basis (much more than battery based cars).

Anyone have real data on the changes in tech for this?

Not much public data.

Toyota and Honda probably have some data collected from the Clarity and Mirai projects but do not share them.

As long as purchasable (not leased) and affordable FCVs are unicorns, it is hard to do proper testing and analysis on them.