Nikola Presents European Version Of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck

NOV 6 2018 BY MARK KANE 121

Nikola Tre FCV to spawn in Europe around 2022-2023

Nikola Motor Company announced the third model of its hydrogen fuel cell truck – the Nikola Tre (means “Three” in Norwegian) – designed for the European market.

The unveiling is scheduled for April 2019, while first tests should start in Norway in 2020. Production of Tre should begin in 2022-2023 just like in case of the North American versions. Nikola currently seeks a production location in Europe.

The Tre, depending on the version, will be able to go 500-1,200 km and according to Nikola, it will be fully equipped with level 5 autonomous driving (hardware).

Nikola Tre spec:

  • 500-1,200 km (310-746 miles) of range
  • 20 minute refill time
  • 500-1,000hp of power and up to 2,000 ft-lbs (2,712 Nm) of torque.
  • redundant braking, redundant steering, redundant 800Vdc batteries and a redundant 120 kW hydrogen fuel cell, all necessary for true level 5 autonomy
Nikola Tre
4 photos
Nikola Tre Nikola Tre Nikola Tre

Press blast:

Nikola Launches Stunning Truck for European Market

Zero-emissions European commercial truck to be on display at April 16-17 Nikola World

PHOENIX, AZ (November 5, 2018) — In response to widespread interest from European customers, Nikola Motor Company has created a hydrogen-electric truck for European markets.

Reservations for the Nikola Tre (means “Three” in Norwegian) are now open at www.nikolamotor.com/tre.

Guests at the April 16-17 Nikola World in Phoenix will be able to view a prototype display of the Nikola Tre, along with other new zero-emission products from Nikola including the production intent Nikola Two.

“This truck is a real stunner and long overdue for Europe,” said Nikola Motor Company Founder and CEO Trevor Milton. “It will be the first European zero-emission commercial truck to be delivered with redundant braking, redundant steering, redundant 800Vdc batteries and a redundant 120 kW hydrogen fuel cell, all necessary for true level 5 autonomy. Expect our production to begin around the same time as our USA version in 2022-2023.”

The Nikola Tre has 500 to 1,000 HP, 6×4 or 6×2 configurations and a range of 500 to 1,200 kilometers depending on options. The Tre will fit within the current size and length restrictions for Europe.

European testing is projected to begin in Norway around 2020. Nikola is also in the preliminary planning stages to identify the proper location for its European manufacturing facility.

Nikola is currently working with Nel Hydrogen of Oslo to provide hydrogen stations for USA. “Nel has been good to work with for our USA station design and rollout. We will work with Nel to secure resources for our European growth strategy. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but with the right partners, we can accomplish it,” said Kim Brady, Nikola Motor Company CFO.

By 2028, Nikola is planning on having more than 700 hydrogen stations across the USA and Canada. Each station is capable of 2,000 to 8,000 kgs of daily hydrogen production. Nikola’s European stations are planned to come online around 2022 and are projected to cover most of the European market by 2030.

At the April 16-17 Nikola World in Phoenix, attendees will witness the Nikola Two in action pulling loaded trailers along with a prototype display of the Nikola Tre. Hydrogen filling will also be shown at the event at 700 bar or 10,000 PSI. Nikola’s powersports division will provide customer rides throughout the day and show off pre-production units of the Nikola NZT off road 4×4.

To date, the company has approximately eleven billion dollars in pre-order reservations. Ryder System and Thompson Machinery will be on site at Nikola World to work with US customers.

Registration for the Nikola World event to be held in Phoenix will open on December 3, 2018 at www.nikolamotor.com.

European fleets or customers looking at reserving more than 10 trucks can email bill.cherry@nikolamotor.com. All other reservations can be made online at www.nikolamotor.com.

Categories: Trucks

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121 Comments on "Nikola Presents European Version Of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck"

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zzzzzzzzzz

They would sound much more credible without borrowing cheesy marketing cliches for idiots from their competitor, like “level 5 autonomy hardware” without really functional level 5 autonomy in sight.

Chris O

…and yet between economically viable hydrogen and level 5 autonomy only the latter will ever become reality.

floydboy

They would sound more credible if they didn’t claim much of the stuff they do! Or at least had an operating unit actually USING hydrogen. It doesn’t have to be bounding around the country like a Tesla, it can be driving across a damned parking lot. But…. it needs to be doing SOMETHING NOW.

Building out a hydrogen fueling infrastructure and the trucks to use it, is an enormous(and enormously expensive) undertaking. It’s not as though the competition is going to wait for you to get your act together.

antrik

It’s a small drop in the sea of things they “borrowed” from said competitor… Beginning with the name of the company.

buu

They probably forgot to look at FCEV sales in Norway, fuel cells and hydrogen makes nearly 0 sense in Norway

Magnus H

You do know that Norway have both methane gas for steam reformation and cheap electricity for electrolysis? It’s probably one of the countries it makes the most sense.

dimitrij

That was precisely my thought, when I saw that they used the Norwegian word for “three”, as if hinting at something. I think electricity in Norway is not only cheap, it’s also excessive in the off-peak hours, so it may actually save them money to use some of it for electrolysis. Oxygen is a byproduct that could also be used in a number of applications instead of just being released into the atmosphere, for example as a medical gas or in petrochemical industry (so they don’t have to separate liquid air, saving on those costs).

floydboy

Sorry, cheap electricity used directly in a battery will ALWAYS be cheaper than electricity used to separate hydrogen from oxygen, clean the hydrogen, squeeze the hydrogen, store the hydrogen, pump the hydrogen, run the hydrogen through a fuel cell to turn it back into ELECTRICITY to put into a battery.

Save yourself all that additional electrical usage, infrastructure building, time consumption and needless water consumption and just USE THE DAMNED ELECTRICITY DIRECTLY!

dimitrij

Battery is an electrochemical reactor – pretty much like a fuel cell – where redox reaction occurs. Charging and discharging the battery is not like pouring water into- and out of the bottle; you induce certain electrochemical reactions, whose efficiency is no 100%.

LiC6 + CoO2 –discharge–> LiCoO2 + C6. And when you recharge, the reaction is reversed.

I know from experience that out of 10 kWh, dispensed by an EVSE, the Bolt gets about 9.2. So, we are talking about 15% loss on charge-discharge cycle. This is still a lot better than the fuel cell economy, but maybe 3 times better – not 10 and not 100.

By the way, I don’t think that pure (non-plug) hydrogen automobiles have a great future; I envisage BEV’s with optional FC range extenders, so the FC will be replacing the ICE, not the EV propulsion.

Rolando

Exactly : from electrolysis to compression , storage, transport, station storage, filling into car tank is best case 30% left – whereas the direct charging into batteries is 80-90% — therefore using the electricity for BEV directly, is 3 times more efficient than using it for producing and transporting hydrogen used in FCEV.

antrik

A significant part of the loss you see during charging is actually from the charger, not the battery itself. Li-Ion batteries have >90% efficiency. (And electrolysis cells need a power supply that is very similar to a battery charger — so that part of the losses applies to both technologies equally…)

buu

yes methane is good for exports as chemistry feedstock or to countries with less natural resources, wasting 3/4 of electricity going through H2 route doesn’t sound smart

Pushmi-Pullyu

“Norway… probably one of the countries it makes the most sense.”

Marginally less extremely bad is still a very long way from being good.

It’s bizarre how so many EV advocates seem to think that cheap electricity would benefit fool cell vehicles more than — or even as much as — it would benefit BEVs!

Mr T

Looks like Scania to me.

Nick

Except Scania actually make trucks.

antrik

Euro trucks pretty much all look the same. There is really not much room for individuality if you are trying to make the best of aerodynamic performance from the terrible shape mandated by regulations…

mustang_sallad

The designs are all great, but these guys need to show some actual working prototypes and some sign of progress towards production.

dimitrij

I’d agree, but maybe Nikola has an aspiration to evolve into a design/R&D company rather than manufacturer, so they’d work with truck making companies

REXisKing

Hydrogen is METHANE.
So, it’s a joke and lie to the general public.

And if they’re going to crack water for hydrogen, that’s a lot of water distribution points they’re going to have to build, along with solar for energy.
— F in Economics.

Mike McD

Norway has tons of hydro for renewable electrolysis.

G2

Tons of hydro more efficiently used in a battery.

Mike McD

You are correct. The tradeoff being the higher energy density (range) and faster refill time. The economics will dictate what wins out in that department. But there is certainly a case to be made for H2 for heavy duty, long haul applications because of these reasons.

Pushmi-Pullyu

There is no economic case for H2 fuel vs. diesel. Diesel is far cheaper, far easier to produce, store, and transport, and does not require extremely expensive and energy-wasting dispensing stations. Diesel also has far higher volumetric energy density.

antrik

Since Tesla is able to build a truck with perfectly sufficient specs for long-haul applications, there isn’t really any more case for hydrogen in this application than any other.

VS

Absolutely. About four times.

antrik

Electrolysis is prohibitively expensive even with cheap electricity.

BoltEV (was SparkEV)

Hydrogen for FCEV is wasted money. Whether the waste is using methane or renewables does not matter.

jamcl3

Methane is CH4 (one carbon and four hydrogen atoms). Molecular hydrogen is H2 (two hydrogen atoms).

The reading assignment is on octane with an exam at 4 PM next week.

dimitrij

Organic chemistry 101: Hydrogen is not methane. To clarify: Methane is methane, hydrogen is hydrogen.

I wouldn’t worry about “water distribution points”; in Europe, they already are in pretty much every house, business and public place – the running/city/tap etc. water.

Bob

Oh man, the resemblance to the Model 3 is uncanny. Here come the patent lawyers!

Vexar

Wow, double badges! I really admire the 3D artist that runs Nikola Motors along with the patent troll attorney. I mean, truly, got the whole Cybertron vibe down solid. It looks like a glossy brick in a wind tunnel, but that is OK. As long as it runs on electricity, just build it already. Oh wait, something about hydrogen being extracted from fossil fuels… Dang it!

Andy

You do realise almost all European HGV’s look like that for a reason right? The long nose of North American Trucks does not work in Europe where length restrictions mean vehicles have to be shorter. A long nose means reduced capacity.

That’s the big issue with the Tesla Semi. It’ll work in North America, but not many in the rest of the world will buy it unless it gets a redesign.

antrik

Tesla already said they are working on a variant for Europe.

Joe Martin

Whoever is funding this company is scientifically illeterate. Hydrogen costs $14/kg, running this truck is like paying $8/gallon for diesel AND it has a prohibitively expensive fool cell under the hood. What trucking company is going to pay $2.25-$2.75/mile to run this when a diesel Class 8 truck cost $1.50/mile and electric trucks will be under $1.25/mile? No one, that’s who!

Mike McD

The trucks will be leased, with fuel covered in the lease. So if the numbers truly are much more expensive than the diesel counterpart, they won’t make a killing. Simple as that. Let’s see what that lease cost is, first.

Chris O

The question is how Nikola is going to finance the free fuel for 1 million miles from the $4-5K/month lease deals it’s offering. HFCV trucks get ~7 miles from a KG of hydrogen so a 100K miles a year truck will burn through ~1200KG of hydrogen a month which at $16/kg would cost Nikola almost $20K/month.

Looks like Nikola needs to get those hydrogen costs down. Like way down.

Tunny

Via hydrolysis the cost of each kg of compressed hydrogen is likely at best to be about $3/kg **for the electricity alone**. That’s assuming about 4cents per kWh and 68kWh per kg.

But that totally ignores the capital costs of the hydrolysis stations, land costs of building, staffing costs and maintenance. (Anyone with any scuba compressor maintenance experience will tell you about that – and that’s only air to 2-300 bar.)

All that will likely treble/quadruple that $3, and that’s if you’re lucky. Nikola will be lucky to match diesel running costs (And from a more expensive truck), and won’t even come close to battery electric.

Hydrogen road transport is like the Emperor’s new cloak. Lots of people on forums like this are already calling it out (he’s got nothing on!!!) – the question is when (not if) a senior manager will say it publicly.

floydboy

If the costs of building the fueling infrastructure and creating the fuel are to be borne by the lessor(Nikola and whoever they’re partnered with?) and those costs are anywhere near the current cost of retail hydrogen stations and fuel, not only will they NOT “make a killing”, they will GET killed on fuel associated costs alone.

Unless……….they make the leases very high to recoup the costs OR they can grab a ‘sugar daddy’ (taxpayers?) to cover all or most of those costs like the oil industry does.

Andy

If they build a few at a time, as they are presumably planning, then the costs will come down significantly. Economies of scale are important here. Most hydrogen fuel stations are small one off developments, which means they’re going to be significantly more expensive than a larger scale one per kg of hydrogen, and significantly more expensive than a bunch built to the same plan at the same/similar time.

silversod

Diesel is more than $8/gallon in Europe.

antrik

It’s below 1.50 Euro per litre in Germany right now… That’s less than $6 per gallon.

BoltEV (was SparkEV)

Where do you see $14/kg? I see $16.50. But that’s retail. I’m 100% sure at wholesale level, it’s be $1/kg. /sarc

Chris O

Actually since a HFCV truck gets ~7 miles per KG and a diesel truck ~7 miles from a gallon it’s more like paying $16/gallon for diesel.

Andy

Yes but batteries cost $400 per kwh. EV’s will never be economical.

What’s that you say, they’re now close to $100 because of technological improvements and economies of scale…? Well I never!

Well I wonder if Hydrogen prices will drop, like almost every other technology as economies of scale wind up…?

dimitrij

There is a lot of work going on in the new battery- and fuel cell tech – solid state batteries, solid oxide fuel cells, supercapacitors, reversible/regenerating fuel cells that work almost like batteries, zinc-air batteries that work almost like fuel cells … given the size of the target market, this is going to be a full-blown tech revolution, possibly followed by some geopolitical shifts as well.

antrik

In what way are zinc-air batteries like fuel cells?…

Jason

The thing with batteries is they were not used to the same level anyway, but Hydrogen has been used extensively for a long time. The Hydrogen economy is about $10Bil per year, how much bigger does it need to get for economies of scale to kick in? It will be interesting to see, has Hydrogen been a rip off all these years or has it already basically hit close to the to end of scaling?

Pushmi-Pullyu

“Well I wonder if Hydrogen prices will drop, like almost every other technology as economies of scale wind up…?”

Sure, the price of hydrogen fuel will drop, just as soon as someone invents a better, less pernicious, hydrogen molecule. /science

In the real world, despite claims from those promoting the “hydrogen economy” hoax, the price for H2 dispensed at fueling stations in California has gone up in the last 3 years… not down, as “hydrogen economy” shills keep claiming.

Battery tech still has potential for, in theory, almost a couple orders of magnitude improvement in energy density and lowered cost. Compressed hydrogen fuel… not so much!

antrik

Couple orders of magnitude improvement in batteries? Where did you get that strange idea? While there is somewhat reasonable hope for ~3x with lithium-sulphur, and a faint hope for >5x with some metal-air batteries, I’m not aware of any chemistry that could give more than about an order of magnitude improvement best case…

Impartial Observer

“a couple orders of magnitude improvement”

LOL! It’s obvious that blowhard Pu-Pu doesn’t know what an “order if magnitude” means. BTW, an “order of magnitude” improvement is a 10X improvement (or X1/10 when referring to a reduction). With regards to battery density, that would be a 10X increase in density for each order of magnitude. With regards to lowered cost, that would be a 90% reduction in cost (1/10th of current cost) for each order of magnitude. And Pu-Pu said it would be a “COUPLE orders magnitude improvement/reduction!!!

Doggydogworld

“What’s that you say, they’re now close to $100”

Who sells a lightweight, 3000 cycle battery for $100/kWh? Tesla charges $450/kWh for their 3000 cycle cells in Powerwalls and Powerpacks. And their cost is higher than that (negative gross margin).

Tesla certainly plans to produce a high cycle life battery pack for 100/kWh. But they can’t yet.

antrik

What Tesla charges for Powerpacks and Powerwalls includes way more than the cost of the bare battery pack.

Also, taking that as a benchmark (instead of higher density and much higher production volume vehicle batteries) seems kinda arbitrary…

Doggydogworld

What does a Powerpack contain that is “way more” than a Model 3 pack?

There are some differences to be sure, but both have 2170 cells, enclosing and supporting structure, cooling and electronics. It seems to me the main difference is the type of cell and the amount of headroom they leave to achieve high cycle life.

antrik

Economies of scale can make *some* technologies affordable — but they do not magically make *every* technology affordable.

For Li-Ion batteries, there were clear indications that the price would come down through incremental improvements alone to the point of being competitive for mass adoption. (Though almost nobody foresaw how fast it would happen…) For hydrogen, there is no indication of it *ever* becoming competitive through incremental improvements. (At least not without some very major technology breakthroughs popping up…)

Pushmi-Pullyu

Nikola is “selling” the idea that they can produce and produce green, renewable H2 cheaply, on-site at their truck stops, in sufficient quantity to actually supply over-the-road Class 8 semi truck freight hauling… and to do this at a price which is economically competitive with diesel truck freight hauling.

That’s why anyone who is scientifically literate will understand that Nikola is a sham company. Its claims are an expression of either delusion or fraud, or perhaps some of both.

Chris O

Interesting challenge to fit an expansive hydrogen power plant on a European truck and still have acceptable range. Difference with US is that the total length of the tractor+trailer is capped, so the tractors are kept as short as possible to maximize trailer length. That doesn’t leave a lot of space for all those compressed hydrogen tanks needed to get decent range.

Of course Nikola has yet to bother about numbers adding up and the CGI works well enough in press releases.

Prsnep

I have to wonder how many people would bash Nikola if Tesla didn’t have plans to enter the semi market itself.

G2

Just as many who know H2 is just a fossil fuelled scam that was suppressed by big oil in the 80s and 90s and only touted now to keep them in the game.

Chris O

Everybody who ever seriously looked into hydrogen and noticed that the numbers don’t even remotely add up.

Andy

Interesting. Do you work for a big company that looked into Hydrogen and spent many months on it? Or do you mean “seriously” as in “scoured the website for a few blogs”?

While i’m not suggesting it will definitely work I trust the dozen+ large internationals currently working on Hydrogen a bit more than someone on the internet. The thousands being paid by big companies spending billions presumably have a little more insight into the possibilities than you.

Chris O

Yes let’s trust the fossil fuel industry and the legacy car companies, all upstanding people who wouldn’t lie to us because they have the general interest at heart and are not at all their own bottom line. There is no need to use our own brains or use the resources at our disposal to question their narratives, that’s just a waste of our time in a world full of large internationals who only have our best interests at heart.

Rolando

You mean taxpayers are spending billions for research since 40 years into FCEV and the carbon-free hydrogen economy dream. And some companies have spend billions over the last decades and following the ‘sunk cost fallacy’ and don’t want to lose face over this (Toyota) , so continue with a few FCEV showcases => all this actions doesn’t mean that FCEV are economically viable.

The physical limitations are well known and is not just uninformed YouTube FUD from Petrol-heads or Tesla fanb0ys !!!

Pushmi-Pullyu

“While i’m not suggesting it will definitely work I trust the dozen+ large internationals currently working on Hydrogen a bit more than someone on the internet.”

The Laws of Physics are not an expression of opinion, nor a mere popularity contest, as you seem to think. They are how the world actually works. Ditto for basic economic forces.

Mere wishful thinking will never have any effect on the real world.

Tunny
Andy – “….. I trust the dozen+ large internationals currently working on Hydrogen a bit more than someone on the internet. The thousands being paid by big companies spending billions presumably have a little more insight into the possibilities than you.” Well – I certainly wouldn’t trust the say-so of a random voice on the internet without checking, but history is littered with very large companies that make huge mistakes and in many cases go bust as a result. And often with voices calling out the flaws about them beforehand and being ignored. It’s interesting to ask “why”? In many cases, it’s down to starting down a path and such taking on a life and meaning of it’s own. Couple that with a natural human reluctance to want to say to one’s boss “you know, this huge project we’ve been working on for a couple of decades doesn’t really make sense now because of xyz” Result is that a project gets more entrenched, it gets even more difficult to change direction, and hence a downward spiral. Toyota anyone? If you replace “xyz” in this case with rapidly lowering battery prices? Hydrogen has been big business in the chemical industry for… Read more »
Tunny

Many big companies have gone bust in the past “pursuing a dream”, and it’s interesting to ask “why”?

In many cases, a “good idea” starts to be worked at, only for some new development to render it impracticable. But a brave person who after years of development will say to his boss “that just isn’t going to work”, and even if the man at the top may know deep down that’s the case, really hard to admit you’ve been going down a blind alley for years without huge loss of face for you and your company.

Toyota, anybody?

floydboy

I noticed the hydrogen supporters are testy today. Doesn’t change the facts or physics though.

Andy

Nah, just bored of the same old anti Hydrogen “FUD”. Posts where you could cross out Hydrogen and Nikola, replacing with EV and Tesla and get the same posts from the Anti EV crowd.

Rolando

There are physical limits – known since decades about the hydrogen economy – using electricity directly in batteries is 3 times more efficient than converting it to hydrogen. This is valid whatever multi-billion US$ or Euro’s taxpayers are spending – pushed from a consortium of green activist and vested interests. So this hydrogen lobby is a remnant from the 1980s where PV and Li-ion batteries where not on yet the horizon.

It is still pushed into the 2020s because there are vested interest from current hydrogen producers (Linde etc…) and the natural-gas-industry who wants to reform methane to hydrogen for the next years to come, the electrolysis from excess RE is just a fig-leaf on the horizon to get more government funding and subsidies.
Also Big-Oil wants to salvage their downstream business (distribution and stations) when everybody can just plug-in BEV’s at home those will be gone.

Pushmi-Pullyu

Just because you are scientifically illiterate, that doesn’t mean the rest of us are.

Chris O

It’s a certain type that shows up to defend hydrogen basically trolls and shills, faking popular support or debate on behalf of their masters or just in search for some (negative ) attention for themselves. No regular people show up to defend something that is not in their interest as (green) car consumers.

Impartial Observer

You’re delusional Chris O. Do you have any other conspiracy theories that you’d like to share with us?

Bill Howland

That article promoting $10/kg Hydrogen shows at least a bit of progress that the H2 people are making, assuming this just was not a ‘loss leader’.

Although I’m sure H2 can be manufactured economically, it looks to me as if maintenance costs and operating costs of the new dispenseries still need to be reworked some to make these things a profitable concern.

You have to admit companies are trying really, really hard to make this H2 transportation thing ‘Work’. Who knows? Maybe they might actually be successful.

But it is taking a lot LONGER and is HARDER than their initial plans for it originally were.

Chris O

So you really believe there are people out there willing to spend a lot of time in staking out forums to promote a solution that’s long term at best, will cost them (a lot…)more as a green car consumer and will never be anywhere as green as other solutions like batteries without being rewarded for their trouble in money or in (negative) attention to alleviate their lonely existence somewhat?

Seems doubtful.

antrik

Everyone group promising something outrageous can get their share of groupies…

Pushmi-Pullyu

It’s not a “conspiracy theory” to notice that over the past few years, those still defending the “hydrogen economy” hoax have almost entirely dwindled down to shills for Big Oil plus EV bashers and Tesla bashers.

Coincidence? Not likely.

“Mr. Bond, they have a saying in Chicago: ‘Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action’.” — Ian Fleming, Goldfinger

floydboy

Not bashing Nikola because Tesla’s doing something in the field, or even because of the numerous shenanigans they’ve pulled, but because of the Rube Goldberg methodology(as it pertains to the physics of making the needed electricity) to obtain a less efficient more polluting battery.

Andy

Unfortunately the main three argument are:

1. They are oil shills, just using methane. Except hydrogen can and is made from water – as Nikola are planning to do.

2. The current cost of hydrogen makes it uneconomic. Sure, but this is the same argument used against EV’s regarding battery prices. Economies of scale help massively here.

3. Because the fuel itself is inherently more expensive than the electricity used to produce it, hydrogen will never be economically viable. Economic viability is for the end user is a lot more complex than just fuel costs.

and:

4: Musk and his comments about Fool Cells. If Tesla said tomorrow that they were developing a HFC then most of those so against it in the comments section now would probably change their tune overnight.

KumarPlocher

1. Actually, almost all hydrogen used so far is from methane. The fact that you *can* make it from water, and that companies use that in their PR, doesn’t change this.

2. Actually, not really. Battery pricing has come way down. And the cost of hydrogen is one thing, but the amount of technology required in the car and in its fueling infrastructure is another. Much of that is inescapably expensive.

3. Well, yes. A hydrogen car is an electric car with a whole bunch of other stuff thrown in that makes it way more complicated and expensive.

4. This is just you being a troll. We believe in Musk and Tesla because of their accomplishments, not because we are devotees in a cult.

Impartial Observer

1. Actually Kumar, for the past four years about 45% of the H2 sold at California hydrogen stations was renewable. In fact, by statute a minimum of 33% of H2 sold at California hydrogen stations MUST come from renewable sources.

Pushmi-Pullyu

…or so the Big Oil shills at the California Fuel Cell Partnership claim.

I’d love to see that claim investigated by real impartial observers.

Tunny

But…. every kWh used making hydrogen could have powered 3 battery EVs for the same distance…..

Doggydogworld

1. “almost all hydrogen used so far is from methane”

And 62% of US electricity comes from fossil fuels. Let’s look forward in both cases.

2. “Battery pricing has come way down.”

Semi needs 3000 cycles. Tesla charges $450/kWh for batteries they guarantee that long.

3. “A hydrogen car is an electric car with a whole bunch of other stuff thrown in ”

And the most expensive part taken out. And why are you talking about cars? This article is about trucks.

I think Nikola is mostly PR fluff. I think H2 is a very dumb idea for cars and probably for trucks. But a truck with a 1000 kWh battery is also a dumb idea. As long as companies spend their own money (mostly) on this stuff, I will evaluate the technology as best I can but withhold final judgement until they deliver something.

Rolando

It’s a technical limitation of conversion losses during electrolysis, compression, transport, storage, loss in diffusion etc… and even the best technical possible hardware will not solve the main problem: that using electricity to produce hydrogen instead using the electricity right away is 3 times more energy intensive to get the wheels moving.
So economy of scale is not bringing down the cost of KWh input energy when you still need 3 KWh input starting at the electrolysis for every KWh output ending at the wheels.

Doggydogworld

But Tesla semi does not “use electricity right away”. Electricity from the solar panels goes through an inverter (~10% loss) then is typically transmitted to the Megacharger station (7% average loss on US grid), then stored in Megapack (10% round trip loss) then stored in a different battery on the Semi (10% round trip loss).

If you’re really offended by losses you’ll join me in advocating we wire our interstates and major state highways with dynamic charging 🙂

Bill Howland
I’d be really surprised if they can get most of your number that low – other than inverter efficiency I’d put at around 95% including wiring losses. But round trip through a battery is no where near only 10% loss, as not only is there the battery loss, wiring loss, but also electronics losses. As an example, roundtrip through a ‘supercharger’ session appears to be 80% to the car, and that is not even including battery heating / cooling expenditures, nor the battery heating loss itself. I’ve measured an “S” charging at 100 kw taking 121 kw from the revenue meter. And then, that 100 kw is not actually all charging the battery, as heat is billowing from the front of the car. And here you are only dealing with one battery set. Now hopefully the SEMI will charge more efficiently since it will charge over a much longer period of time to minimize the heating losses, and cooling requirement. But the losses are still there. Now if there is a MEGAPACK battery buffer to decrease demand charges (I don’t know exactly how much of this will be needed since there are only so many off-peak hours in a day… Read more »
Pushmi-Pullyu

“If Tesla said tomorrow that they were developing a HFC then most of those so against it in the comments section now would probably change their tune overnight.”

Only someone promoting the “hydrogen economy” hoax would make such a claim.

The impossibility of making hydrogen into a practical or affordable fuel isn’t a matter of opinion, but scientific and economic facts.

https://www.insideevsforum.com/community/index.php?threads/how-to-promote-the-hydrogen-economy-hoax.429/

antrik

When something costs three times as much *best case*, then yes, economic viability *is* generally as simple as that. It would take some very, very huge advantages to overcome a 3x cost increase. Certainly not just “we could theoretically save 5% time if we do trips thousands of miles long with rotating drivers”, or “we could take 5% more load on some trips”.

Pushmi-Pullyu

Those of us who are scientifically literate are not going to stop pointing out that compressed H2 will never be practical, affordable, or useful as an everyday transportation fuel, no matter how long the Big Oil shills promoting the “hydrogen economy” hoax keep throwing out their B.S. claims.

That would not change even if Tesla disappeared from the face of the Earth overnight.

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” — John Adams

antrik

If you want to frame it as a Tesla competitor argument: perhaps less people would be bashing them, if they didn’t name their company as an obvious Tesla knock-off, and then claiming Tesla is stealing their ideas…

Birger

“Tre” has a dual meaning in Norwegian. It’s three(3), but alst tree . Interesting wheter or not they knew this ahead of the naming.

antrik

Third paragraph of the press release: “[…]Tre (means Three in Norwegian)”

Bar

Doesn’t seem very aerodynamic, he? Just a giant brick driving down the freeway.

John Doe

They spend a lot of time in windtunnels and computer simulations as huge savings can be made. They have to help the air move around to the sides.

Jason

So let’s get this straight, Nikola is designing the third vehicle but doesn’t actually have the first or second vehicle in production? Do I read this correctly and they don’t actually have a prototype on the road? Regardless of Hydrogen costs, availability, etc. this company has been around for a few years now, touting all their benefits and solutions, but actually don’t have any products to show for it?
Even Tesla could put batteries into the Lotus and show what they were going to do. I find it incredible that anyone would put any money down on Nikola based on their lack of any tangible products at this point in time.
If Faraday Future appears to have failed, then Nikola must be going quickly down the same road I think.

Bunny

US Express has one, it’s the first working prototype that Nikola had built.

G2

Just how is that going for them Bunny?

Bunny
From what I have seen, more on the trucking side info than EV type news. Us Express was really really early with Nikola. Even back when Nikola was going to produce a pure EV truck and US Express being the 5th largest trucking company, but surprisingly very progressive about EV trucks. I know they even had some money in Nikola at one point. With Fritzgerald and US Express both in Tennessee. It was natural for what Friztgerald built to be over to US Express. They are also still really serious with Nikola but they are also waiting for Tesla. I think when Nikola builds the 100 working trucks for their 2 year testing and yes US Express has had a working Nikola prototype at different times, you’ll see US Express will have a lot of those. I think at the moment the original US Express truck spends most of its time at Nikola. I’m not for or against Nikola, I’m just saying what I know. The technology works, even Toyota’s first generation fuel cell truck logged over 8,500 miles just running out of the port of LA, just been replaced in June with the improved version and ten more to… Read more »
David

“who’s paying the power company for that infrastructure needed ? That’s gonna be expensive and a real minus for Tesla”

And Nikola is going to solve this how when they will require 3x more power?

Tesla can solve this today with solar and powerpacks. Yes it’ll be expensive, but it offers other avenues for revenue/price reduction. Export excess solar to the grid, export excess battery capacity during peak times etc.

Bill Howland

Well, yes and no – if there is Bonafide electrical usage during off peak times the utilities will build the facilities. But I haven’t seen much detail from the H2 people since the news has been relatively bad, and I haven’t seen much news from the electric people since the news initially was relatively bad.

It would be easier for we “Joe Public” types to make a more informed decision if both groups would provide more detail. But each group is putting forth a bit too rosy a picture as to their actual production.

Pushmi-Pullyu

“…who’s paying the power company for that infrastructure needed ? That’s gonna be expensive…”

Yes, installing the high power and high voltage equipment needed for a truck depot for EV semi tractors will be expensive.

But when amortized over several years, it won’t be as expensive as continuing to pay for diesel to power the same number of semi tractors.

At least, that’s the economic case that Tesla is making. But it will be at least a few more years before we see if actual trucking companies can make it work for them.

Contrariwise, there is no realistic economic case for using H2 fuel for a fleet of semi tractors. That would be more expensive than diesel, not less, despite Nikola’s highly unrealistic and easily disproven claims.

antrik

Tesla’s announcement hasn’t “put the hurt on everybody working on EV trucks”. Very much the contrary: everybody is asking truck makers about their progress with EV trucks now — something they didn’t really have on the radar before.

Just like with the Model 3, Tesla has mobilised the entire industry just by announcing it…

Tunny
Bunny – “For example , company X has 100 Tesla trucks on their lot to charge within 10 hr break of drivers. Which means the truck can’t move an inch, ……. The maintenance shop has lights and a air compressor, not joking, who’s paying the power company for that infrastructure needed ? That’s gonna be expensive and a real minus for Tesla for anyone that wants to do this on any kind of scale. Even at just a hundred trucks that’s a lot of power needed. What do you do with a company that has 13,000 trucks?” All spot on – but not solved by any hydrogen “solution”. Accept that trucked hydrogen is not really viable for filling stations, and as at present such need hydrolysis then you also have to accept that supplying them with the massive amounts of power they will need be even more expensive – you’ll need 3x as much power! I’ve looked up a newspaper article from two years ago about the first London based hydrogen filling station (hydrolysis based) – https://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars/article-3581468/First-London-based-super-green-hydrogen-station-opens-Teddington.html – and a few things stand out. Quote: “Refuelling at the site takes three minutes and fills the tank with 5kg of pressurised… Read more »
Pushmi-Pullyu

Does it actually run on compressed H2, or is there a diesel powerplant inside?

Terawatt

“Tre” does mean “three”. But it also means “tree”. Double entendre, which by the way is NOT a French idiom (even though each word is French – no French-speaker would say this, except when speaking English).

VS

The electrolysis production of Hydrogen still consumes 66 kWh/kg «well to wheel». It’s expensive.

Tunny

Actually it’s much worse – that figure is roughly electricity usage to compressed hydrogen, and doesn’t take into account energy lost in the fuel cell or drive train

Pushmi-Pullyu

When Nikola first started getting coverage here at InsideEVs, they were claiming they were gonna use a gas turbine in their trucks. I pointed out in a comment that altho a lot of companies had made claims for putting a gas turbine vehicle (car or truck) into production, none of them had actually followed through.

I was surprised when a rep from Nikola actually responded to my comment, saying that there was an economic case for a natural gas powered truck in Europe, where the price of diesel is much higher. Perhaps there really was an economic potential there; I dunno.

But now that Nikola has turned to using fool cell tech, there is absolutely no for favorable economics, regardless of whether it’s in Europe or the USA or any other region of the world.

Too bad they abandoned the plan for a gas turbine power plant. 🙁

antrik

Even ignoring the practical problems of a micro-turbine (extremely hot exhaust gas), I think the economic case isn’t terribly good, as it doesn’t really have higher efficiency than an advanced reciprocating engine in a hybrid arrangement. (Both get to ~40% AFAIK.)

Higher efficiency could be achieved with a combined cycle turbine… Unfortunately, as funny as that would be, I’m not sure anyone would consider it practical 🙂

Doggydogworld

Microturbines are 25-30% efficient. Capstone had a DOE-sponsored program to do 40% (or 35%??) a while back but failed to make much progress.

Bunny

But at the truck stop level pure EV just to get to parity with what is out there today would require if a truck stop has ten fuel isles you’d need 160 charging stations that are charging all at the same time to match the time used to fuel. That’s based on 300 mile EV vs typical truck that has 2 100 gallon tanks.
To match the total productivity of the trucks.

You’d need 16 times more “ isles”
That’s a staggering amount of real estate and a huge amount of power required.
This is a bigger problem than you think if everything was EV.

I’m pro EV but the logistics and infrastructure costs are staggering and it’s not just the cost of the truck.

Doggydogworld

Real estate around truck stops is pretty wide open. The bigger problem is the round trip through the Megapack. At current Powerpack pricing a round trip costs ~10 cents/kWh. Tesla hopes to dramatically reduce long-life battery cost, but they haven’t done it yet. They also hope to recoup costs by providing grid services (use the Megapacks for frequency control, backup, etc.). Not coincidentally, solar + Megapacks will also qualify for generous renewable subsides.

I’m sure they have spreadsheets with lovely numbers. We’ll see what they deliver.

Bill Howland

I’d think they’d charge where they sleep as opposed to having separate fueling aisles. Just throwing some numbers around – if the truck had an 800 kwh battery and it was charging for 10 hours with a 100 kw charger – 25 trucks ‘sleeping’ at a truck stop would require 2500 kw. 100 trucks at a LARGE facility might require 10,000 kw. If this was an ‘ongoing load’ and not some flash in the pan, it would be as difficult to supply as the next new large shopping center, and I’ve never seen a utility that refuses to power shopping centers.

To the extent that the drivers sleep over the midnight period, to that extent the trucks can recharge with very low cost power (at least, much cheaper than some of the Super-On-Peak rates seen during the summertime) – and if there are enough of these truck stops they might even put pressure on the Utility to ‘slightly’ lower their rates since it provides baseload usage that factories used to provide – although I would expect any panaceas.

Impartial Observer

With that large of an electric load, the truck stops could make their own electricity with solid oxide fuel cells and a natural gas connection. This way, the truck stops wouldn’t need to upgrade their electric service or pay demand charges.

Distributed power generation with solid oxide fuel cells is growing by leaps and bounds in the U.S.. Many big businesses, hospitals, universities, server farms, financial firms, etc. use solid oxide fuel cells to avoid demand charges and for backup power during an electrical outage. It lessens the need to upgrade power lines and transformers, and sometimes avoids the need to build or expand a power plant.

Bill Howland

Yeah they could do it that way, but it is of interest that one large car wash chain locally just got rid of all their Gas Gensets since it was ultimately cheaper to install electric services (a few car washes and convenience stores had NO connection to the Commercial Utility), and GOT RID OF the methane ICE gensets – pretty impressive when you realize that ALL the WASTE HEAT was efficiently utilized to heat water, an incentive not necessarily there at a truck stop unless they also have 24 hour truck washers.

Impartial Observer

But what was the efficiency of those car wash methane ICE gen sets? Perhaps 25%?

The latest SOFC are 60+% efficiency IIRC, and there are no transmission losses like there are with a far away power plant. In Korea, natural gas SOFC power plants have been built in place of new or expanded natural gas turbine power plants.

Bill Howland

edit: wouldn’t expect any panaceas.

Tunny

Agreed, but for many users the idea would be to charge during periods when the truck is stationary somewhere anyway – overnight, rest stops, maybe even loading or unloading.

Yes, huge amounts of power required – but nowhere near as much as hydrogen electrolysis stations would need. Yes also to staggering costs of logistics and infrastructure – but again nowhere near as much as for comparable electrolysis stations.

Accept a desire to move from diesel and it’s inescapable the capital costs will be huge – battery or hydrogen. At least BEV will then result in lower running costs/mile from then on – that’s not the case for hydrogen.

Bunny

Ok I redid this with real numbers instead of the efficiency of a diesel pump (they don’t sell that much. ) So taking Pilot/Flying J numbers pre the Wilco/ Hess acquisition you get annual 7 billion gallons with 750 locations at 6 miles per gallon replace that with 300 mile Tesla’s charging at the 50 miles remaining point.

That works out to 613 charging sessions every 24 hours multiply that by 750 locations, plug in your number electricity required per charge, that gives you what’s needed to replace real life Pilots / Flying J’s business.

Sounds doable to me, 613 sessions a day at one location , 365 days a year
Is not an unreasonable expectation.

You’d probably only need about 40 charging stations per location. To accommodate the busiest parts of the day.

That’s all averaged. Obviously some locations busier than others.

Tunny

From Nikolas press release, they say: “Each station is capable of 2,000 to 8,000 kgs of daily hydrogen production.”

Let’s think about that. The figure to produce a kg of compressed hydrogen is 68kWh, so their stations will need 136 MWh to 544MWh.

Averaged over 24 hours therefore, 5.67MW to 22.7MW continuously.

And at 7 miles/kg, it means the stations will be capable of supplying enough fuel for 14,000 to 56,000 truck miles. So if we assume each truck goes 750 miles between refills it means the stations are capable of only servicing about 18 to 75 trucks a day?

Thinking about how many million $$s each station costs, that seems a lot less than I’d expect. There is just so much about Nikolas figures that just doesn’t seem to add up….. Anyone got an answer from them?

Tunny

Taking the above a bit further (and using the lower figures) then assuming 4 cents/kWh, that 136 MWh will cost about $5,440 per day. So just over $300 per truck, and for 750 miles that’s just over 40 cents per mile.

In electricity alone. Before even thinking about the cost of the electrolysis equipment, staff, maintenance, land, other capital costs, oh! and the truck itself!

Is this seriously going to be competitive with current diesel, or are Nikola going to have to subsidise the per mile lease rate hugely?

Or can anyone fault these figures?