E-truck manufacturer Nikola and Plug Power are teaming up in a strategic collaboration whereby Plug will purchase up to 75 Nikola Tre hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles for green hydrogen delivery while Nikola will purchase a 30 metric-tons per day liquefaction system from Plug for Nikola’s Arizona hydrogen hub project, furthering its broadening into becoming a green-energy supplier.
The Nikola Tre fuel cell electric vehicle is a hydrogen-powered cabover for longer or continuous metro-regional applications and is expected to have a range of up to 500 miles. Plug will purchase up to 75 of the trucks over the next three years with the first ones to be delivered in 2023. They will be paired with Plug’s liquid hydrogen tankers for over-the-road transport.
Nikola’s recently announced hydrogen hub project, planned for location in the city of Buckeye, Arizona, is currently going through a permitting and rezoning process, with the procurement of long-lead equipment also underway. Plug has been selected to provide its fully integrated liquefaction system for the project which will be engineered to produce 30 metric-tons per day in its first phase, scaling up to 150 metric- tons per day. The low carbon hydrogen supply from the hub will further support the deployment of the Nikola Tre FCEV program and Nikola’s hydrogen energy business.
The companies have also executed a 125 metric-tons per day green hydrogen supply agreement. The innovative green hydrogen supply and offtake partnership is expected to provide Nikola with a minimum of 100 metric-tons per day of hydrogen with the option to increase volume over time and will allow Nikola to source hydrogen from multiple locations across the country as Plug continues to bring on new supply facilities.
“Nikola and Plug share a common vision for sustainable, efficient, energy solutions which supports our commitment to decarbonize the transportation industry,” said Nikola President, Energy, Carey Mendes. “This strategic relationship will help underpin Nikola’s ambitious growth plans to expand the hydrogen energy business and to support the adoption of Nikola’s zero-emission Class 8 trucks.”
“Today’s announcement demonstrates Plug’s leadership in the green hydrogen economy and its ability to make the adoption of hydrogen as easy as possible by aligning with industry pioneers, such as Nikola,” said Sanjay Shrestha, CSO and General Manager of Energy Solutions for Plug. “Our vertically integrated solutions, which are designed to fit individual customer needs, include hydrogen production equipment or the delivery of hydrogen fuel, whichever is preferred. We look forward to our strategic relationship with Nikola as we advance the hydrogen economy together.”
The Nikola Tre battery-electric vehicle, with a range of up to 330 miles, started serial production in March 2022. Its fuel cell power derives from agreements with the Bosch Group of companies for Nikola Class 7 and 8 fuel-cell electric vehicles which enable Nikola to build the Bosch fuel-cell power modules at its Coolidge, Arizona facility. The agreements will allow the adaptation of the fuel-cell power modules for the Nikola Tre and US Nikola Two. Under the agreements, Bosch supplies both fully assembled fuel-cell power modules as well as major components to Nikola, including the fuel-cell stack, for Nikola to assemble in Coolidge.
The two companies have defined a scalable and modular approach for the Nikola Tre and Two truck applications based upon use of multiple fuel-cell power modules utilizing the Bosch heavy-duty commercial vehicle fuel-cell stack. Nikola plans to further expand capacity for use in the Class 8 long-haul Nikola Two FCEV with an anticipated range of up to approximately 900 miles.
The vehicles are planned to utilize common fuel-cell power modules in 200 kW and 300 kW configurations. The Nikola Tre FCEV will also be launched in the EU, utilizing the same fuel-cell power modules supporting vehicle manufacturing planned at Nikola’s joint venture with IVECO in Ulm, Germany.