Nikola sees great potential for hydrogen fuel-cell-electric trucks in Canada

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Canada has emerged as one of the crucial promising markets for hydrogen-fueled Class 8 vans, representatives from Nikola stated throughout the VIP breakfast at Truck World.

“I’ve been pushing Canada at Nikola for fairly a while now,” stated Jorg Wimbert, head of Canada for the zero emissions truck maker. “To all of us, Canada is a no brainer. The residents, the federal government, the markets – everyone desires to maneuver to greener know-how.”

Crowd shot from back of room
The Truck World VIP Kick-Off Breakfast (Picture: Leo Barros)

Nikola has additionally discovered a robust associate within the Alberta Motor Transport Affiliation (AMTA), which has bought two hydrogen-fueled vans to assist its member fleets achieve publicity to the know-how. The primary Hyla-branded hydrogen fueling station was just lately opened close to Edmonton. The corporate will quickly be opening one other fueling station in Ontario with ITD, its unique Canadian distributor. The modular stations can gasoline between 20 and 40 vans.

“ITD is aware of vans and is aware of the Canadian market,” Wimbert stated of that partnership. Nikola’s model is to put in modular fueling stations the place wanted, finally changing them with everlasting fueling stations. Wimbert stated deploying the fueling infrastructure in Canada is comparatively easy due to its one predominant freeway connecting east to west.

Christian Appel, international head, product and applications, stated Nikola has a two-pronged method to the market, promoting each a battery-electric and hydrogen fuel-cell-electric car.

“Each vans share a typical powertrain system,” he stated. “The distinction is within the vitality storage.”

The gasoline cell truck is best suited to longer hauls, heavier weights and purposes the place fueling time is vital. “We’ve got lower than 20 minutes refueling time for a full refuel,” Appel stated.

“We’ve got to ensure the use case is a match and the enterprise case is a match,” added Jason Roycht, head of FCEV (fuel-cell-electric car) market growth.

Hyla fueling station
(Picture: Nikola)

The FCEV truck has a spread of 800 km, whereas the batter-electric truck is restricted to about 400 km.

How the hydrogen is produced for the FCEV truck can be a consideration. The truck itself doesn’t care – a hydrogen molecule is a hydrogen molecule – however inexperienced hydrogen entails no emissions throughout manufacturing. Right now, 76% of the hydrogen produced is gray hydrogen, largely produced utilizing pure gasoline. However Wimbert sees a chance for inexperienced hydrogen manufacturing in Ontario utilizing small modular reactors.

“We’re colorblind however it takes the complete colour spectrum to gasoline the fleets of the long run,” Wimbert stated of the assorted types of hydrogen.

Ryan Clayton, international head of gross sales, stated it hasn’t been simple competing towards the incumbent OEMs as a startup, however there are benefits.

“We’re pleased with being pioneers, however pioneers get loads of bloody noses alongside the best way,” he stated. “The benefit is we are able to pivot fast, transfer fast, go to market fast.”

One of many firm’s proudest moments was working a FCEV Nikola between Calgary and Edmonton and again with out refueling and with hydrogen left within the tank. Bison Transport and considered one of its drivers carried out the run.

The truck was solely three-quarters full, the day was chilly, and there was some trepidation.

“We did some simulations, and mentioned whether or not we are able to go for it or wait till the gasoline arrived,” recalled Appel. “We stated let’s simply go for it.”

One of many attention-grabbing advantages of a FCEV is that the hydrogen creates sufficient warmth to maintain the cab heat. Additionally it is much less impacted by chilly climate than a battery-electric truck.

The cabover design can be driver pleasant and comfy, added Appel. “You’re sitting on high of the gasoline cell however the gasoline cell is quiet and doesn’t produce any disagreeable fumes [or vibration],” he stated.

Another excuse Nikola is bullish on the Canadian market is the federal government incentives. Wimbert famous a federal program gives $200,000 in direction of the truck whereas provincial incentives in B.C. and Quebec can add as much as one other $150,000.

Requested about service factors, Clayton identified that greater than 90% of any points that come up with the truck might be addressed remotely. However the firm is adopting a conventional supplier community so as to add extra service places and likewise supplies intensive coaching with a fleet’s personal technicians.

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