Nikola One electric truck to come with hydrogen fuel cell range-extender

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American electric truck startup Nikola made headlines in June when it announced it had received as many as 7,000 pre-orders for an extended-range electric semi truck claimed to have 2,000 horsepower on tap and a 1,200-mile range.

Nikola originally said the truck’s range-extender would be a natural gas turbine, but on Tuesday the company said it would be a hydrogen fuel cell. The turbine will still be available for customers in countries where hydrogen filling stations are lacking.

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The fuel cell is crucial for Nikola’s desire for zero-emission running, which the company has promised for its truck. The company said it held back on details as it was awaiting the “finalization” of some supplier agreements.

Nikola realizes that most hydrogen at present is sourced from steam reforming of hydrocarbons, which is an energy intensive process that produces a lot of carbon emissions, so to stay true to its promise of zero-emission running, Nikola plans to supply its customers with hydrogen gathered from clean sources. That would be Nikola’s own solar farms used to source hydrogen via the electrolysis of water. Audi is already doing this using wind farms located in the North Sea.

Nikola One electric semi truck

Nikola One electric semi truck

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Nikola’s (over)ambitious claims don’t end there, though. The company says it will also start its own hydrogen fueling network. It expects to have 50 stations up and running by 2020.

“The desire to be 100 percent emission free in the United States and Canada is a critical piece of our long-term engineering and environmental efforts, not  just in vehicle energy  consumption but also in how energy is produced,” Nikola CEO Trevor Milton said in a statement.

The truck, which is called the One, is expected to have a starting price of $375,000. Nikola is still taking pre-orders and to entice buyers the company will offer free hydrogen fuel for early birds.

The debut of the Nikola One is slated to take place on December 1 at a press conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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