Hydrogen truck maker Nikola Motor has a “thing” for Europe. The Nikola Tre is a fuel cell truck made for the continent exclusively. Norway will be the first testbed from 2020 before Nikola will set up both FCV production and a hydrogen network in Europe.
It took Nikola Motor no more than two years to from presenting their first fuel cell truck Nikola One to showing a hydrogen-powered truck designed especially for the European market. Nikola claims that interest from Europe has inspired them to expand.
The Tre (means three in Norwegian) is to be offered in various configurations with output running from 368 kW to 736 kW. The range then includes a version with 500 km on a fill but also 1,200 kilometres will be well within range. The Tre will fit within the current size and length restrictions for Europe, according to Nikola, and the firm aims for level 5 autonomy.
Nikola’s founder and CEO Trevor Milton considers the Tre a “real stunner and long overdue in Europe”. He added that “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.” For manufacturing Milton says to “expect our production to begin around the same time as our USA version in 2022-2023.”
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Considering this, we expect the fuel cell truck to largely be build on Nikola’s Two model, especially as they schedule U.S. production to begin at the same time as in Europe by 2022 or 2023. This has not been confirmed though but it is certain that Nikola will set up a dedicated factory on the continent to make the Tre and they say, the search for a site is already underway.
Testing however will start sooner than production. Expect to see the Nikola Tre fuel cell truck driving around Norway from 2020.
Moreover, as in the USA, the manufacturer also wants to set up a network of hydrogen filling stations across Europe. Nikola is currently working with Nel Hydrogen of Oslo to provide hydrogen stations for the USA reportedly. Therefore Nel will be Nikola’s infrastructure partner in Europe as well. Says Kim Brady, Nikola’s CFO: “We will work with Nel to secure resources for our European growth strategy.”
By 2028, Nikola is planning on having more than 700 hydrogen stations across North America. Nikola’s European stations are planned to come online around 2022 and are projected to cover most of the market by 2030.
Nikola Motor is taking pre-orders for the Nikola Tre fuel cell truck as you read. The public will see a first prototype on display at the Nikola World in Phoenix on April, 16, 2019.