Nikola Motor announced a new major order to potentially deliver a total of 100 BEV and FCEV trucks to Total Transportation Services. At least, a corresponding letter of intent has now been signed with the logistics company.
Total Transportation Services Inc (TSSI) serves the Californian ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Initially, a pilot project with two BEV and two FCEV trucks is planned to start in the first half of 2022. If TSSI’s expectations from the test operation are met, according to the letter of intent, 30 BEV trucks could follow later in the year and then 70 FCEV trucks in 2023.
The vehicles are the Nikola Tre, a Class 8 tractor, in BEV and FCEV versions. The battery-electric Tre is designed for local use and a range of 350 miles (563 kilometres). The Nikola Tre FCEV is said to have a range of 500 miles or 804 kilometres.
TSSI is not concerned with long-distance trips, but feeders to and from ports – but many trips in a day without a break. “The Nikola Tre trucks are exactly the type of zero-emission solution we need to be using at the port,” says Vic LaRosa, President of TTSI. “Our trucks operate for 18-20 hours a day making the benefits of the Nikola portfolio a perfect match for our needs. The expected availability of the BEV aligns with our desire to reach our sustainability goals quickly and the FCEV is ideal for longer-range applications.”
According to TTSI, 13,000 to 14,000 trucks a month call at the ports of Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach, emitting about 2,600 tonnes of nitrogen oxides annually – no information is given on CO2 emissions. The use of electric trucks at this point could have “a significant impact on the transition to sustainable transport” in California, according to Nikola.
There is still a big question mark behind the deal, however: “The collaboration is subject to negotiation and execution of definitive documentation acceptable to the parties,” Nikola writes. Elsewhere, it also hints that TSSI’s plans are also contingent on the receipt of “certain” funding from the government.
Nikola had already received a major order for 2,500 battery-electric rubbish trucks in August 2020, but was forced to concede in early 2021 that the order was cancelled at the behest of both parties. There were turbulent months between the receipt of the order and the cancellation – from the planned entry of General Motors, to allegations of manipulation, the resignation of CEO and founder Trevor Milton and the failure of the plans with GM.