Nikola recently announced that it had secured a $41.9 million grant from the California Transportation Commission (CTC) to construct six hydrogen refueling stations for heavy-duty trucks across Southern California. The initial stations could become operational later this year.
The planned hydrogen refueling stations will operate under the HYLA brand, which Nikola introduced this year in partnership with Voltera. They will be strategically located along high-traffic freight routes near Los Angeles, San Diego, and the Mojave Desert region. As noted in a press release, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) sponsored the application and will work in partnership with Nikola to deploy the hydrogen refueling stations.
In a statement, Carey Mendes, President of Nikola Energy, expressed gratitude for the grant, stating, “This funding will enable us to expedite the implementation of zero-emissions hydrogen refueling infrastructure, which is crucial for the successful launch of our hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks in July.”
As per company spokesperson Dan Passe, the California funds will cover about 50% of the total cost of constructing the six hydrogen stations, with Nikola and Voltera financing the remaining portion. The stations will be designed to refuel up to 100 heavy-duty trucks per day, with the first stations expected to open later this year and in early 2024. Nikola has previously announced its goal of establishing 50 HYLA stations with Voltera by 2028.
For Nikola, the announcement brings much-needed positive news. Once a darling of the sustainable transport movement that even secured support from General Motors, Nikola has since faced notable challenges. Over the past two years, the company has put in a serious effort to overhaul its operations by building its Tre battery-electric truck and undoing the damage done by its founder Trevor Milton, who was convicted of securities and wire fraud last year.
It should be noted that, as of writing, there are virtually no public hydrogen fuel stations in the United States that are designed for heavy-duty trucks. California also only has over 50 hydrogen stations for passenger vehicles like the Toyota Mirai sedan and the Hyundai NEXO crossover.
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