Nikola to deliver 50 hydrogen trucks to USPS carrier AJR Trucking

Image: Nikola Motor

Nikola Motor says it received an order for over 50 fuel cell trucks and plans to build 50 hydrogen refuelling stations in North America.

First, to the vehicles: AJR Trucking, a carrier for the United States Postal Service (“USPS”) and a major drayage carrier operating in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, has ordered 50 Tre FCEV heavy-duty trucks from Nikola. Deliveries are scheduled to take place between Q4 2023 and Q1 2024. AJR and Nikola will also “explore” deploying Nikola’s 10,000 psi (700 bar) mobile fueling stations at AJR properties in Compton and Santa Clarita in California.

Nikola and its Southern California dealer, Tom’s Truck Centers, will also support AJR Trucking in securing funding through CARB’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (“HVIP”) program. The carrier could receive $270,000 per FCEV in point-of-sale incentives. An additional $40,000 in federal tax credits is expected from the Inflation Reduction Act.

“We are confident the future of trucking is zero-emissions, and based upon our operational needs, the Nikola Tre FCEVs were the only zero tailpipe emission vehicles that could meet our range, performance, and cost targets,” said Jack Khudikyan, owner of AJR Trucking.

Still, the company is no stranger to zero-emission options as AJR Trucking had already placed its largest order to date with US manufacturer Kenworth last year, however, for 25 battery-electric trucks. At the same time, today’s statement says AJR sees FCEVs as “the next step forward, given their zero tailpipe emissions, long-range, and fast fueling times” and will continue working with its customers to offer additional zero-emissions freight services. Reportedly, USPS, for which AJR has been working for 30 years, was struggling to comply with emission regulations placed upon them by the US government but has been catching up.

As for Nikola, the company also announced plans to build up to 50 hydrogen refuelling stations across North America over the next five years under its new Hyla brand in cooperation with infrastructure partner Voltera. Voltera will build, own and operate the strategically located hydrogen stations, while Nikola will supply the hydrogen and provide technical expertise.

“Our partnership with Voltera will bring substantial capital and expertise to support Nikola’s plans to build refuelling infrastructure to support its customers,” said Carey Mendes, President of Nikola Energy.

“Voltera’s mission is to accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles by taking on the complex and costly nature of developing the necessary infrastructure,” said Matt Horton, CEO of Voltera. “By partnering with Nikola, we are expanding our focus beyond battery-electric vehicle charging in order to dramatically increase hydrogen fueling infrastructure.”

As Nikola emphasises in its press release, the refuelling stations can also be used by trucks from other manufacturers. Nikola has set itself the goal of building 60 hydrogen filling stations in North America by 2026, in particular, to drive the introduction of its own H2 truck.

While not explicitly connected in today’s news, one area for the planned sites is the Los Angeles industrial zone where AJR Trucking operates.

ajrtrucking.com, volterapower.com


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