CTC grants over $40 mn to Nikola to buildout H2 infrastructure
Nikola Motor has announced it has received a grant awarded by the California Transportation Commission (CTC). 41.9 million dollars are supposed to help Nikola and its infrastructure branch, Hyla, build six hydrogen refuelling stations across Southern California.
Caltrans sponsored the application and will partner with Nikola to deploy the new hubs for refilling heavy-duty FCEVs. The grant also comes ahead of Nikola launching production of its fuel cell truck Tre in the USA. Carey Mendes, President of Nikola Energy, said the award and infrastructure build-up were “vital for the successful launch of hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks in July”.
As for Caltrans, it furthers the agency’s zero-emission vehicle strategy and supports the statewide ‘Truck Parking Study’ by providing a place for truck drivers to park.
The six hydrogen stations will be located along freight corridors within the South Coast Air Quality Management District, San Diego County Air Pollution Control District, and the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District, the partners said.
Other details remain scarce, though. Nikola only said that each hydrogen refuelling station would be designed to “scale up over time with the growth of heavy-duty hydrogen refuelling needs while attempting to maximize truck parking at each site”.
Looking at earlier announcements, Nikola plans to build 60 hydrogen refuelling stations across North America by 2026 under its new Hyla brand.
Whether the six hubs announced fall under this agreement is unclear; however, Voltera was previously named as a partner to build and operate the hydrogen stations, while Nikola would supply hydrogen and provide technical expertise.
As with the previous targets, all Hyla/Nikola refuelling stations will be open to fuel cell vehicles of any make. This open access was also a requirement for the CTC grant.
While having been in the news for difficulties lately, Nikola Motor focuses on launching the Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell truck. CEO Michael Lohscheller expected the Tre FCEV to go into production “in a matter of weeks” when speaking in June, and this timeline was confirmed today.
The company also expects to localize the supply chain further and, for example, plans to assemble Bosch fuel cell power modules in Coolidge, Arizona, to reduce the material cost.
Nikola currently claims 178 sales orders from 14 customers for the Tre FCEV.
Its business in battery-electric versions has gone mainly to Iveco in Europe, now trading as EVCO, as reported. Nikola will make BEVs only to order at most.