Tesla Semi Truck rival Nikola Motor Company has announced a $16 million equipment purchase for its hydrogen fuel cell laboratory, representing an initial investment of several hundred million dollars planned. The laboratory represents a critical component in Nikola’s plan to provide high-quality, high-efficiency fuel cell technology at a pace quick enough to meet the needs of the trucking industry as it drives towards an alternative-power future.
“We believe the fuel cell will replace the diesel engine in the next 10 years,” Trevor Milton, CEO of Nikola stated in recent press release. “This lab will be filled with extremely talented fuel cell engineers and is a critical part in our truck development — enabling Nikola to set a new efficiency benchmark for heavy-duty fuel cell systems.”
Nikola intends to develop its laboratory into the most advanced research and development facility of its kind, enabling the development, validation, and testing of its entire fuel cell system in one place, dedicated to their particular needs. The centralization of these essential functions and capabilities will reduce the time required to meet Nikola’s mission milestones using other manufacturers and third-party labs by half. “It is a race to the finish line now for our team,” Milton added, also indicating the interest other OEMs have expressed for the company’s fuel cell drivetrain and hydrogen stations.
The fuel cell laboratory is the second major recent investment announcement for the company. Last week, Nikola released details surrounding its 400-acre deal in Pinal County, Arizona with Saint Holdings, LLC where the company will build its semi-truck manufacturing facility to make its Nikola One sleeper, Nikola Two day cab, and Nikola Tre for the European market, all set to compete with Tesla’s Semi Truck. The location is inside Heritage, an 11,438-acre prime development area, within the Inland Port Arizona portion of the site, itself comprising 3,000 acres and dubbed a “manufacturing mega site.” Nikola’s presence in the area is expected to bring an estimated $1 billion in economic stimulus to the region by 2024.
The hydrogen-electric semi truck manufacturer will reveal more details about its state-of-the-art lab at Nikola World, taking place on April 16-17 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Other revelations will include major trucking, Powersports and hydrogen-related topics, along with a few promised surprises.
Follow us @Teslarati for behind the scenes coverage from Nikola World where we’ll be bringing you a first look at the company’s upcoming hydrogen-electric semi-truck.